Press Release: Bowling Green Residents Tip OH Supreme Court in their Favor, Win Fight for Right to Vote

Oct 19, 2017 HB 463 – corporate state legislation to block citizen initiative – struck by Court BOWLING GREEN, OHIO:  Today, the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the right of Bowling Green residents to vote, ordering their first-in-the-state Right to Climate charter amendment on the November ballot. The Wood County Board of Elections (BOE) approved the measure for the ballot last month. One resident challenged the decision, arguing in part that the substance of the initiative was unconstitutional and, under HB 463 should be kept off the ballot. HB 463 was adopted by the people’s legislators last December. The legislators granted BOEs broad authority to keep measures off the ballot based on content, making it difficult for residents to propose legislation that challenges unjust law. The Ohio Supreme Court would have none of it, striking HB 463 down as a violation of the separation of powers, and ordering the charter amendment on the ballot. The Court stated, “To the extent that [HB 463] authorizes and requires boards of elections to make substantive, preenactment legal evaluations, it violates the separation-of-powers doctrine and is unconstitutional.” The charter amendment emerged out of Bowling Green residents’ growing alarm when they learned of the proposed Nexus pipeline threatening their City’s water supply. Students and residents joined together to work with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to draft their charter amendment, which asserts the community’s right to a healthy climate, and bans the pipeline as a violation of that right. Brad Holmes, a Bowling Green University student, celebrated the decision. “When the people rise up and take action to stop climate change, state actors...

Citizen Initiative Removes Corporations from Election Campaigns, Caps Campaign Contributions

Youngstown residents submit signatures for their Community Rights Fair Elections Initiative Aug 7, 2017 Youngstown, OH:  Today, a long-standing community rights group in Youngstown, OH, submitted over 1,900 signatures to qualify their Youngstown Fair Election Bill of Rights initiative for the November ballot. The measure is the first of its kind in the state, limiting campaign contributions to registered voters within the City, and capping those contributions at $100. The Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Committee drafted the initiative with the support of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). CELDF has been assisting Youngstown residents to advance their democratic and environmental rights since 2013, when residents launched their community rights work to protect themselves from fracking activities. Fracking threatens their drinking water and has caused earthquakes in the area. Read...

OHCRN Statement: County Boards of Elections Attempt to Stifle Democracy: Meigs, Athens and Medina Counties

Jul 15, 2016 Last summer, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted claimed “unfettered authority” to block county charter initiatives banning fracking. Dozens of residents in four counties collected more than 12,000 signatures of people who wanted to vote on the measures. The Ohio Supreme Court slapped Secretary Husted’s wrist, denying him such authority. Now it it the local Board’s of Elections attempting to stifle the people’s voice and initiatives. Read full...