Healthcare measure deemed fit for ballot by Ohio high court

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August 15, 2011

Ohio

By Al Ortiz

COLUMBUS, Ohio: Let the healthy debate begin: the Ohio Supreme Court ruled on August 12, 2011 that the Ohio health care amendment could stay on the 2011 general election ballot. What is expected to follow is a firestorm of campaigning both for and against the measure leading up to the fall election.

The measure calls for exempting residents of Ohio from national health care mandates which would stop any state law from forcing persons, employers or health care providers from participating in a health care system

The group ProgressOhio challenged the petition signatures collected for the measure with the Ohio Supreme Court in hopes of taking the measure off of the ballot. However, the high court ruled that the measure did indeed collect enough valid signatures, and it should stay on the ballot. According to the ruling, ProgressOhio did not provide proof that supporters of the measure failed to collect the required 385,245 signatures needed to make the ballot.

According to Jeff Longstreth, campaign manager for Ohioans for Healthcare Freedom, who backed the measure: "We are very pleased the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the validity of the signatures and will allow voters to have a choice this fall if health care decisions should be made by patients and doctors or politicians in Washington D.C.."

Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio, stated: "Clearly our review was hampered by 40 percent of the counties refusing to respond to a public records request in the allotted time for review."[1]

It now appears that the Ohio statewide ballot will feature a trifecta of ballot measures. Before the July 26, 2011 deadline could arrive, the Ohio Secretary of State certified the proposed health care amendment for the 2011 ballot, rounding out the final ballot measure lineup.[2]

Previously, supporters had until July 6, 2011 to collect the 385,245 signatures from registered voters that are required for an initiated constitutional amendment to obtain ballot access. This number represents 10% of the votes cast for governor in the most recent election. In addition, signatures must be gathered from 44 of Ohio's 88 counties.

Reports confirmed that health care amendment supporters filed approximately 546,000 signatures by the petition drive deadline, more than the required number needed to make the ballot.

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