RUMFORD – Supporters of a casino in Oxford County will make their bid Monday to get the issue on this November’s ballot.

Seth Carey, founder of Evergreen Mountain Enterprises, said he will submit the signatures the organization has gathered. The initiative needs 55,087 signatures to go to the ballot.

“We have over 100,000 signatures, but a great deal of them are from last year,” Carey said.

He said that new constitutional guidelines operate on a rolling timeline that only accept signatures within the past year. Under these guidelines, signatures from 2006 and early 2007 would be invalidated.

Stavros Mendros, hired to gather signatures for the petition, said he and Carey plan to submit more than 76,000 signatures Monday.

Carey has said that several thousand signatures are generally invalidated after submission due to duplicates and other problems.

In November, Carey filed suit against several cities, stores and a Lewiston high school, saying petitioners had been denied access to the locations. Carey argued in the suit that such areas have become public forums and that petitioners were being denied their constitutional rights.

Carey had sought to get a judgment on the lawsuit before today to allow petitioning to resume, and said the suit is now essentially defunct.

“But we can always bring it back at some later stage,” he said.

In the State House, Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, has introduced a bill to “guarantee free speech in privately owned public gathering places.” The bill would allow petitioners to collect signatures in shopping malls with more than 75,000 square feet of gross leasable space.

Carey said the casino issue will go to the ballot if it qualifies, and he will seek legal relief if it does not.

“But we don’t really want to talk about that or think about that,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes.”


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