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Petitioner Gina Gleason said in the lawsuit that the deadline to file signatures was Nov. 10, which was a Sunday over the Veterans Day holiday weekend.

In Tulare County, the signatures were sent to Federal Express on Nov. 7, marked for “next day delivery” to Ms. Woodard’s office. The courier arrived around 3 p.m. on Nov. 8, a Friday, and found the office closed.

The courier went to the Tulare County mailroom and found an employee still at work, but that person “refused to accept delivery of the referendum petition sections and told the Federal Express courier to return” on Tuesday, after the holiday, the lawsuit said. A Federal Express courier did so, and the petitions were accepted and signed for Nov. 12.

In Mono County, a courier for On-Trac Delivery found no one in the office on Nov. 9, a Saturday, and placed “the package in the designated mail slot” at Ms. Roberts’ office.

Ms. Gleason’s lawsuit said both counties promptly submitted their tallies of “raw signatures” to Ms. Bowen’s office, but the secretary of state refused to accept them, saying they were not “filed” when they were delivered to the county offices.

Ms. Bowen’s office has adopted a “strained reading” of the law, and is infringing on the constitutional rights of Ms. Gleason and the voters in two counties, said the lawsuit, which asks the court to direct Ms. Bowen to accept the counties’ signatures and pay court costs.