AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Dec. 19, Equity Action said it had to submit hundreds of signature retractions to the City of Austin after confusion over petitions for police oversight ballot items.

Equity Action said it received more than 600 retraction requests from people who said they were “deceived” by Voters for Oversight and Police Accountability (VOPA) into signing a petition seeking to weaken police oversight in Austin.

According to Equity Action, the retractions were provided ahead of VOPA’s official submission of the signatures, which ensured they would not be counted toward the 20,000 valid signatures required to place a proposal on an Austin ballot.

A City of Austin spokesperson said the Office of the City Clerk received an initiative petition named the “Austin Police Oversight Act” on Dec. 19. The city’s spokesperson also confirmed the Clerk’s Office received forms to remove names from the petition prior to the petition being filed.

“Before the Clerk can begin to process the petition, names to be removed must be found and discounted. Once all names to be removed are found, the Clerk’s office will begin preparation to validate the petition,” the city said.

KXAN previously reported that the Austin Police Association, though a separate entity from VOPA, supported the committee.

Equity Action said in video and audio recordings that VOPA canvassers were caught “repeatedly lying about the content of their petition, their reasons for gathering signatures, and the organization they were representing.”

“Upon learning who was actually behind this signature collection and its intention to further weaken police oversight in Austin, hundreds and hundreds of people reached out to us saying they’d been lied to and hoping to take their names off of this petition,” said Kathy Mitchell, a senior advisor with Equity Action.