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      Hopeful petition candidates prepare for signature deadline

      The July 16 th deadline is quickly approaching for hopeful candidates trying to be on the November ballot.

      These candidates are among more than 250 candidates who were kicked off the ballot last month when the state Supreme Court determined they didn't file their financial paperwork correctly.

      They are now required to collect at least five percent of registered voters signatures in the district in which they are running.

      On Monday, the signatures head to the state Election Commission in Columbia. They then go on to the local county Election Commissions where they will have a month to go through them signature by signature to verify that they are all registered voters within the appropriate districts.

      Although this has created a lot of extra work for the hopeful candidates, some say it may have helped their campaign.

      "It was a blessing in disguise," says District 105 hopeful petition candidate Bill Wiegand.

      Dennis Di S abato says he is counting down the days until he can turn his signatures in.

      "What my number one focus is until the day that they have to be handed in is to just kind of go through and try to verify as much information we received as possible," Di S abato says.

      Weigand says he has already started the verifying process to make sure each signature is valid.

      " Y ou check their voter ID , and you check their date of birth , and that was monoton ous. T hat was the worst part of this whole deal," he said.

      Both candidates admit that there has been a silver lining to this chaotic process.

      "Well , it certainly gives you little more exposure to people by going door to door and letting people know who you are and what your mission is," says Di S abato.

      Weigand realizes how important each signature is . "Those are going to be the people that are voting for me."

      And while the work to collect signatures may be finished, candidates are already looking towards the November election.

      "It's not ove r. W e've got a lot of work to do . 'C ause come November 6th, we've better have our ducks in gear," says Weigand.