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Legalization Backers Say Petition Signatures Should Count


The group that wants to put a marijuana legalization plan before voters this fall is in the process of collecting roughly 40,000 additional valid petition signatures to be able to do that. But the group’s leader doesn’t think it should have to. Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.

ResponsibleOhio’s Ian James says he knows his group turned in at least the nearly 306,000 valid signatures needed to put the pot issue on this fall’s ballot.  James says signatures were scanned and data entry process was used to determine there were plenty of valid signatures. Yet the Secretary of State ruled the group came up more than 35,000 signatures short.

“There are over 21,000 voters who were incorrectly identified as invalid. We want to make sure they have their signatures count. We also see that there are 40,000 signatures that weren’t reviewed,” James says.

James says his organization has been collecting new signatures in recent days to make up for the shortfall and he’s certain the issue will make it to the ballot. But he says the organization will file a challenge with the state’s Supreme Court anyway. James says his group collected new registrations and registration updates and wonders whether those were processed before verifying petition signatures. ResponsibleOhio wants Ohio voters to pass a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow ten specified growing sites throughout the state and would put regulations on sales of the plant.

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