Activists pushing for a moratorium on genetically modified farming in Maui County are stepping up their efforts to gather signatures in advance of a looming deadline.
Members of a nonprofit organization known as the SHAKA Movement have launched a campaign to pay people $5 for each signature collected in support of a citizens initiative. Bruce Douglass, spokesman for the organization, said that the money is intended as a reward and an incentive for the group’s 500 existing volunteers. If the organization gathers 8,500 valid signatures, voters on Maui will be able to decide in November whether to temporarily ban genetically engineered agriculture on Maui, Molokai and Lanai.
The SHAKA Movement submitted 9,600 signatures to the county in early April, in excess of the 8,500 signature minimum. But the group is continuing to gather names in case many of them are invalidated. Because the county has 45 days to verify the signatures, Douglass said that the group is expecting a response from the county by May 21 next week and plans to submit its supplemental names by May 23.
Douglass said an anonymous woman from Maui is backing the $5-per-signature campaign, which has a cap of 4,000 signatures or $20,000. Mark Sheehan, a board member of the SHAKA Movement, said that the organization has collected a total of 14,000 signatures so far. “We want to make sure that there’s no basis for risking all the work that we’ve done so far just because we fall short,” Sheehan said. “We’re just making one final push.”
Read the full, original article: Maui anti-GMO group is paying petition signature gatherers $5 per name