The City of Casper is asking the Natrona County Seventh Judicial Court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by anti-smoking group Keep Casper Smoke Free.

The group is trying to force the city to review nearly 100 smoking ban referendum signatures that were rejected by city clerk V.H. McDonald during an initial petition count in July. They claim McDonald used inconsistent rejection criteria.

Keep Casper Smoke Free co-chair Kimberly Holloway, who is also listed as a plaintiff, says she’s not surprised by the city’s response.

“We have some challenges to the claims made by the city in their response,” Holloway said. “We may go ahead and ask for a court date sooner rather than later, but, as far as how quickly this will get into court, I really can’t say. It could be several months – I don’t know how much is currently on the docket for the judges.”

Keep Casper Smoke Free wants a special election on recent changes to Casper’s public indoor ordinance permitting smoking in city-based bars, private clubs and healthcare establishments.

The group claims it submitted nearly 3,000 signatures in July. The group, however, fell 61 signatures short of its target after 700 signatures were rejected by the clerk’s office.

Keep Casper Smoke Free is accepting donations for its legal defense fund through a crowdfunding website.