City of Cincinnati Issue 4 (November 2013), Ballot Language Change
On September 11, Cincinnati For Pension Reform filed a lawsuit against the Hamilton County Elections Board seeking to change the language that the board approved for the ballot. The Elections Board altered the language before voting to put it before voters and the lawsuit claims that the ballot question misrepresents the wording of the full proposed charter amendment and illegally adds to the text of the amendment through "conjecture and partisan argumentation." Initiative supporters especially disapprove of a section that states that the proposed pension reform amendment would “require the city of Cincinnati to pay forecasted pension obligation shortfalls by creating new revenues, which may include new or additional taxes or fees, and/or other revenue sources ...”. The group behind the initiative had requested an expedited ruling.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of the group, Cincinnati For Pension Reform, and ordered that the ballot language be changed for Issue 4. This required the re-sending of absentee ballots. Election officials say they will keep track of ballots that have already been turned in to avoid counting two votes for one person. The Ohio Supreme Court Justices did leave language that was objectionable to Issue 4 proponents namely the sentence that said the initiative could force the city to cut services or raise fees to cover pension system liabilities.
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- Cincinnati.com, "Pension reform group sues to change ballot language," September 12, 2013
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