Tuesday, August 16, 2005

 

Anti-RON group files new petition challenge

In another desperate move to deprive Ohioans of the ability to vote on major election and political reforms, Dick Finan and the Ohio First group have asked a state appellate court to invalidate thousands of petitions, arguing that state law prohibits the use of signature gatherers that reside outside Ohio.

From the groups press release (no link yet available):
Ohio’s 10th Appellate District Court was asked this morning to uphold Ohio law and block thousands of initiative petitions filed by Reform Ohio Now (RON) that were circulated by people who are not Ohio residents.

The action was filed on behalf of Richard Finan of Sharonsville, Ohio, who has been active on behalf of the Ohio First Voter Education Fund. Finan and Ohio are opposed to the RON initiative which if approved will strip voters of their ballot box power and will obliterate Ohio’s decades-old election systems.

The complaint follows a review of a portion of the RON petitions filed with Secretary o State. That review of 12,057 part-petitions completed last weekend on Finan’s behalf revealed that 47 percent (5,642 part-petitions were circulated by persons who were not Ohio residents included some people who have been found to be illegal circulators in the past. [sic]

As in the past, the Secretary of State’s office has instructed the local boards of elections to count the initiative petitions without regard to the circulators state of residency. But, the Secretary of State’s office has set a higher standard for petitions nominating candidates for office. As an example, the Secretary of State’s office told the local boards that they could not count petitions filed on behalf of Ralph Nader’s 2004 candidacy for president if the circulator was not an Ohio resident.

Finan’s complaint underscores this double standard while citing Ohio R.C. 3503.06 that requires that an initiative part-petition is invalid if a person who is not an Ohio resident has circulated it. Election law makes no distinction between the requirement for state residents to circulate initiative petitions or petitions filed on behalf of candidates for public office.

Finan’s complaint says the law on residency is the same for candidates and initiative petitions because circulators must be within the reach of a state-issued subpoena to respond to questions concerning petitions they have filed.
Not being lawyers, we'd hate to speculate on the merits of these arguments, but like Finan's previous legal effort, it is being done at the risk of derailing Kenny Blackwell's petitions too.

These guys are going to play hardball so we doubt that anyone is very surpised by this new development. The good news is that given the mood of the public, Finan's tactics will just piss off Ohio voters even more.

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