Fake Signatures Taint San Jose Styrofoam Ban: Registrar

An attempt by local restaurant owners to overturn the ban of Styrofoam in San Jose was defeated after thousands of signatures were found to be fake, and less than half were legitimate.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters spent endless hours checking every signature on the proposed ballot, finding only 17,738 out of 38,784 signatures were legitimate, falling short of 21,046 necessary for the June 2014 ballot.

Officials ruled 1,346 names on the ballot were "gibberish" because the names were written so unintelligibly, registrar Shannon Bushey told the newspaper.

Bushey also said nearly 15,000 of the 21,000 signatures collected were from people who were completely made up.

Plus, 1,051 people signed twice, and others signatures were included of people who don't even live in San Jose, or had a different address listed than where they are registered to vote, the registar's office found.

Restaurant owners advertising the petition called the measure, "San Jose Residential Curbside Zero Waste Recycling Initiative." Residents, the newspaper reported, were confused because they were led to believe that signing the petition would ban the Styrofoam containers.

To keep the measure efforts going, homeless people told city officials they were given gifts cards with no value by the initiative backers, in order to collect more signatures.

City Clerk Toni Taber said the local restaurant owners would have to start over if they wanted to see the ballot measure voted on in June.

The initial ban on polystyrene, which passed on Aug. 27 as a means to help protect the environment because of the slow degradation process, took effect last week for multi-chain restaurants.

The ban came after the city's "Green Vision" agenda, a movement which already stopped plastic takeout bags at grocery stores and other retailers.

Smaller restaurants have until January 2015 to obey the recent measure. 

So far, out of 31 cities, San Jose is the largest city in the nation to implement the polystyrene ban.

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