11 August 2005

Ballot Issues Aim to Change Ohio Politics

John McCarthy, AP - Aug 10, 2005

Backers filed petitions with hundreds of thousands of signatures to put measures on the November ballot aimed at curbing the power of elected officials in the way Ohio runs its elections.

The coalition of labor unions and Democrat-leaning activists is counting on support from voters disillusioned with a state scandal that has dogged majority Republicans for months and was sparked by the revelation of losses in investments into rare coins.

The measures would create a court-appointed board to choose congressional and legislative redistricting maps, create a state elections board and lower the limits on campaign contributions.

"We, the citizens, are supposed to drive the system, not the politicians," said Jan Fleming of Uptown Progressives, a Columbus community activist group. "Elected officials now choose the voters, rather than the other way around."

The coalition on Tuesday filed petitions with the state bearing 521,000 signatures for each of three ballot measures. To get on the November ballot, the backers need 322,000 valid signatures of registered voters.

[...] Another ballot proposal would put a nine-member, bipartisan board in charge of elections, instead of the secretary of state. The third would lower the limit on individual contributions from $10,000 to $2,000 for statewide candidates and $1,000 for legislative candidates.

Backers got another boost Tuesday when the state Supreme Court unanimously dismissed a lawsuit that sought to keep the proposals off the ballot. The suit had argued their wording was flawed.


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