Aug. 12, 2015
COLUMBUS – The Ohio Secretary of State today announced that
ResponsibleOhio collected enough valid signatures to put the Marijuana Legalization Amendment on the November 2015 ballot. The amendment seeks to legalize marijuana for medical use and personal use by adults 21 and older.
“It’s time for marijuana legalization in Ohio, and voters will have the
opportunity to make it happen this November–we couldn’t be more excited,”
said ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James. “Drug dealers don’t care about doing what’s best for our state and its citizens. By reforming marijuana laws in November, we’ll provide compassionate care to sick
Ohioans, bring money back to our local communities and establish a new industry with limitless economic development opportunities.”
The Secretary announced that ResponsibleOhio collected 320,267 valid signatures total, qualifying in 77 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
“We want to thank the elections officials who took the time and effort to go through the hundreds of thousands of signatures we submitted. This has been a Herculean effort to collect and review so many signatures, and we
look forward to working with the Secretary’s Office to preserve the integrity of elections process.”
The Ohio Ballot Board will meet on August 18 to determine the amendment’s ballot language and issue number.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 – Secretary of State Certifies Signatures for ResponsibleOhio Marijuana Constitutional Amendment.
COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today certified that
petitioners seeking to place a constitutional amendment on the November 2015 ballot have collected 44,185 additional, supplemental signatures.
This number joins the 276,082 valid signatures the group submitted on June 30, 2015 for a total of 320,267 valid signatures. The petitioners, known as ResponsibleOhio, needed to gather 305,591 signatures in order to secure a place on the ballot, a number equal to 10 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, 2014.
As part of the total number of signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot, petitioners are also required to have submitted signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and within each of those
counties, collected enough signatures equal to five percent of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, 2014.
The petitioners met this requirement in their first signature submission, having collected enough signatures to meet the five percent threshold in 73 counties. Having met the constitutional and legal requirements to place the matter before Ohio voters, the issue will appear on the ballot during the General Election held on November 3, 2015. The next step in the process is for the Ballot Board to convene to approve the ballot language that
voters will consider this fall.
It is the constitutional and statutory duty of the Secretary of State to verify and certify signatures submitted for citizen-initiated constitutional amendments, initiated statutes and legislative referenda.
July 30, 2015
ResponsibleOhio today delivered 95,572 supplemental signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office to put marijuana legalization on the ballot in November. ResponsibleOhio also turned in 27,585 voter
In June, ResponsibleOhio turned in over 695,000 signatures, but fell just short of the number of valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. ResponsibleOhio was then given 10 days to collect an extra 30,000 valid signatures.
“The enthusiastic and overwhelming response we’ve received from hundreds of thousands of voters across the state has shown us one thing–it’s time for marijuana legalization in Ohio,” said ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James. “Despite some politicians’ games, we look forward to presenting to voters our comprehensive plan to tax, regulate and make marijuana safe in our state. We’re confident that in November, voters will repeal failed marijuana prohibition in our state once and for all.”
ResponsibleOhio still plans to pursue legal challenges to protest the 40,000 signatures that were not counted and 20,000 signatures that were improperly invalidated by the Secretary of State’s Office during the
initial petition filing.
Husted Names Special Investigator for ResponsibleOhio Petitions, Subpoenas Records
COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today named David Bowers to serve as a special investigator to review discrepancies in the petitions submitted by ResponsibleOhio in their effort to place a constitutional amendment before voters this fall.
“As with every possible case of election fraud, it is my responsibility to investigate and hold accountable anyone who may have cheapened the voice of all Ohioans by cheating the system,” said Husted. “I have long stated that voter fraud is rare, but it happens; and when it does, we will call out the guilty parties and hold them accountable.”
Significant disparities remain between the number of petitions and signatures ResponsibleOhio claimed to have collected and the number the group actually submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office. There are also discrepancies between the hard-copy petitions and what should have been identical electronic copies of those petitions. Such discrepancies, if the product of fraud, are subject to criminal penalties up to a fifth degree felony.
Secretary Husted will also exercise his authority under section 3501.05 of the Ohio Revised Code to subpoena Ian James and any relevant records in the possession of ResponsibleOhio and The Strategy Network to aid in the investigation.
David Bowers, Esq. is the principle at the Law Offices of David Bowers in Lima, Ohio. He is the former Prosecutor of Allen County where he was the longest-serving county prosecutor in Ohio at the time after 28 years of service. During his service, he maintained a conviction rate in excess of 90 percent in criminal prosecutions.
Last month, Secretary Husted issued a warning to ResponsibleOhio when it was discovered by county boards of elections that The Strategy Network, the organization managing ResponsibleOhio’s petition drive, was submitting an alarming number of fraudulent voter registration forms.
“Fraud and sloppiness have more in common than being the devastating cause of undermining voter confidence, they are illegal and will not be tolerated by my office,” added Husted.