Sick-day ballot to be withdrawn

From ProgressOhio:

Ohioans for Healthy Families, the state wide coalition that has sought enactment of a paid sick day law in the Buckeye state, announced today that it will ask that the Ohio Healthy Families Act not appear on the November ballot.

You might call this the Thomas Eagleton of ballot initiatives.

The group that filed the ballot request will formally request of the SOS later that the initiative not appear on the ballot. Apparently Gov. Ted Strickland was involved in getting them to retract it.

My question is, since they’ve already submitted the petition, with 240,000 signatures, to Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, by what reasoning should they be able to unilaterally retract it? I mean, nearly a quarter million people signed up to put it on the Ohio ballot. Does the group that submitted the petition have the authority to speak on behalf of all those people when the group changes its mind? Did a quarter million people also change their minds?
It might be legal, but it doesn’t seem ethical. Those folks signed up to get the initiative on the ballot, not to pledge their allegiance to whatever Ohioans for Healthy Families decided to do next.

10 comments on “Sick-day ballot to be withdrawn”

  1. Posted by bryan | Sep 4, 2008 2:53 pm

    3519.08 Withdrawal of petition

    (A) Notwithstanding division (I)(2) of section 3501.38 of the Revised Code, at any time prior to the sixtieth day before the day of an election at which an initiative or referendum is scheduled to appear on the ballot, a majority of the members of the committee named to represent the petitioners in the petition proposing that initiative or referendum under section 3519.02 of the Revised Code may withdraw the petition by giving written notice of the withdrawal to the secretary of state.

    (B) After a majority of the members of the committee named to represent the petitioners gives notice to the secretary of state that the petition proposing the initiative or referendum is withdrawn under division (A) of this section, all of the following shall apply:

    (1) If the Ohio ballot board has not already certified the ballot language at the time a majority of the members of the committee gives the written notice of withdrawal, the board shall not certify ballot language for that proposed initiative or referendum to the secretary of state.

    (2) The secretary of state shall not certify a ballot form or wording to the boards of elections under sections 3501.05 and 3505.01 of the Revised Code that includes ballot language for that proposed initiative or referendum.

    (3) The proposed initiative or referendum shall not appear on the ballot.

    (C ) No petition that has been filed, and subsequently withdrawn under this section, may be resubmitted.

  2. Posted by Brian | Sep 4, 2008 4:19 pm

    Thanks, bryan. I figured it was legal- groups like that have lawyers advising them of course. It seems to me though that the interests of the petitioners aren’t considered in this law. Though on the other hand, I guess a group could collect signatures and not submit them at all, which would amount to the same thing.

  3. Posted by LisaRenee | Sep 4, 2008 11:24 pm

    Some of the supporters are not happy with this decision. One of those who worked to get this issue on the ballot has talked to an attorney to try to stop it from being taken off the ballot…

  4. Posted by Brian | Sep 5, 2008 12:10 pm

    I’m not surprised. I’d be angry too if I signed the petition and then some deal was struck to stop the process.

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