Keep Casper Smoke Free officials say they’ll ask the city to recount the signatures the group gathered for a referendum on changes to Casper’s public smoking ban.

City officials on Wednesday said the group narrowly missed its 2,454-signature target that would have triggered a special election next month.

Keep Casper Smoke Free co-chairperson Kimberly Holloway she’s skeptical as to why so many of the signatures were excluded from the final count.

"More than a few people have moved since the election in November and used their current address instead of the address that they lived at when they voted in November," Holloway said. "That seemed to be the No. 1 reason (why the signatures were rejected)."

"We can't imagine that we had that many mistakes, considering how diligent we were," Holloway said.

Holloway also says some of the signatures may have been rejected due to legibility issues.

If the city finds that the group failed to gather the required number of valid signatures after a recount, Keep Casper Smoke Free will target the seats of city councilors Paul Bertoglio and Keith Goodenough next year.

"We will become a candidate-recruitment committee and we will actively find people that want to run for city council next year," Holloway said. "There are four seats up the next time up - two are held by the mayor (Kenyne Schlager) and the vice mayor (Paul Meyer), and they are very strong supporters."

Goodenough and Bertoglio, along with councilmen Steve Cathey, Bob Hopkins and Daniel Sandoval, voted in favor of the amended ban. Schlager, Meyer and councilmen Charlie Powell and Craig Hedquist voted against the revisions.

Holloway, a former city councilor, says she’s unsure whether she’ll run again.

Keep Casper Smoke Free officials say they gathered roughly 3,000 signatures between June 28 and July 17 when the petitions were submitted to the city last week. City clerk V.H. McDonald says only 2,393 of the signatures were valid.

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