Felon collected signatures for failed Arlington change-of-government initiative, official says
Cheryl Simmons, who circulated and signed off on 123 pages of a petition to get a change of government in Arlington County on the November ballot, is a felon and therefore not eligible to vote, said Linda Lindberg, general registrar of Arlington County. Only residents able to register to vote are permitted to collect signatures for ballot initiatives, according to state law.
More than 2,200 signatures on Simmons's pages had to be disqualified, bringing the total number of verified signatures to 10,815.
The petition needed 14,350 signatures to get the change of government issue on the ballot. Even without Simmons's invalid signatures, the effort did not garner enough signatures to qualify.
Lindberg said she was in the final stages of validating the more than 16,000 signatures turned in two weeks ago when she learned, through Virginia law enforcement officials and the State Board of Elections, that Simmons had been convicted of embezzlement charges and had previous convictions that had been downgraded.
The change of government petition was trying to remove the current management powers of Arlington's county manager and place those responsibilities with the county board.
This post has been updated since it was first published.
July 30, 2010; 2:11 PM ET
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