New numbers: 7,500 signed anti light rail petition

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – By next summer, an anti light rail group needs 27,000 signatures to get the issue on the ballot for 2016.

Tuesday, “No Light Rail” group members announced they have 7,500 notarized signatures. They have about 3,000 more signatures that still need verification. If they pass, the total would be about 10,500. This was part of a large signature effort on Election Day.

“Considering we were only able to cover approximately 40 percent of Virginia Beach polling stations, and approximately 10 percent of all votes cast on those ballots signed our petition. We thought we did pretty well,” said No Light Rail spokesman Jimmy Frost.

The totals were announced at a press conference Monday afternoon. “No Light Rail” also took time to point a finger at its opponents “Light Rail Now.” They claim that members of the group interfered when “No Light Rail” volunteers tried to get voters to sign their petition.

“In several instances those individuals were engaged in harassing or just socially rude behaviors toward voters or our own volunteers,” said spokesman Jimmy Frost.

“While we find the conduct of certain light rail supporters reprehensible, our legal counsel is of the opinion that while it might not rise to the level of voter suppression and intimidation, it’s more like a childish temper-tantrum thrown by those are afraid they won’t be getting their toy train for Christmas,” Frost said.

WAVY.com took those accusations to Jeanne Evans with “Light Rail Now.”

“We can sit here and we can point fingers at each other. The bottom line is we were there to have a presence to inform the voter. To let them have the truth and have accurate information and to have the other side of the story, because sometimes things get a little tainted,” Evans said.

The “No Light Rail” group has until Summer 2016 to gather the remaining needed signatures.

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