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April 17, 2017, 07:41:44 AM

ResponsibleOhio Files Appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court Over Language of Issue 3

By Timothy Perry

August 28, 2015 - 12:11 PM

COLUMBUS - ResponsibleOhio, a special interest group which gathered enough signatures to put Ohio Issue 3, a controversial statewide marijuana legalization measure, on the November ballot, appealed the language of Issue 3 to the Ohio Supreme Court yesterday after it was certified by Ohio Secretary of State John Husted.

A copy of the text of Issue 3 and the certification signature of Secretary Husted are below:

Interested parties propose the language of ballot issues. The Ohio Ballot Board and Husted are responsible for certifying and, if necessary, rewriting the language of proposed ballot issues to make them more clear to voters.  

ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James released the following statement in response: “The titles Secretary Husted gave to Issue 2 and Issue 3 are absurd and were clearly written to intentionally mislead and confuse voters in November. This egregious conduct of an elected official demonstrates a continuing abuse of partisan power and is incredibly disappointing for those of us who want encourage Ohioans to engage in the democratic process.

Ballot issue titles and language are meant to be a neutral, fair representation of each proposal. Utilizing taxpayer dollars to lead such a blatant attack, in an effort to confuse voters, is utterly shameful".

ResponsibleOhio is asking the Supreme Court for an order declaring the ballot language invalid and requiring the Ballot Board to do one of the following things:

-Adopt new ballot language as prescribed by the Supreme Court that, in their view, properly describes the proposed amendment
-Adopt as the ballot language the “summary” contained in Part A of the proposed amendment, or
-Adopt as the ballot language the wording that ResponsibleOhio originally proposed to the Ballot Board

In addition, ResponsibleOhio is asking the Supreme Court for an order declaring the ballot title invalid and requiring Secretary of State Jon Husted to do one of the following things:

-Devise and adopt a title that properly identifies the proposed amendment, or
-Adopt a title prescribed by the Supreme Court.

“The language and title assigned to Issue 3 is demonstrably false. After receiving public comment, the Ballot Board and Secretary Husted crafted the language and title with intent to mislead, deceive and defraud the voters,” said ResponsibleOhio legal counsel, former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Andy Douglas.

Husted's Office Released the Following Statement in response:

“I have an obligation as the state’s chief elections officer to make sure Ohioans understand the decision before them when they enter the voting booth. There is no better way to describe State Issue 3 than to say it is a monopoly that grants exclusive rights to a certain group of people - rights that would not be afforded to every other Ohioan.

Webster’s dictionary defines the word monopoly in a way that seamlessly matches what Issue 3 would do. News publications throughout Ohio have rightly come to the conclusion that Issue 3 would allow a small group of wealthy investors to buy a place in the Ohio Constitution and reserve themselves exclusive rights as the only suppliers of marijuana in Ohio.

The backers of State Issue 3 could have easily prevented Ohioans from calling their plan a marijuana monopoly by choosing to not write their plan as a marijuana monopoly.

My interest in this issue, as with every elections issue, is that the people of Ohio understand what is before them and leave the voting booth knowing their vote mattered”.

The Court could take up to two weeks to review evidence and issue a decision.

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