COLUMBUS — Today Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections announced the suspension of its ballot initiative campaign to modernize Ohio’s elections through common sense reforms.
The following is a statement from Toni Webb, Campaign Manager for Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections:
“While this is certainly not the outcome we hoped, planned, organized, fundraised, or campaigned for, we come to this decision with pride in our work, appreciation for our coalition partners, and a clear vision for the future.
We end this campaign incredibly proud of everything we have accomplished, including a 6-1 victory at the Ohio Supreme Court finding our initiative qualified as a single issue, and making clear the standard for future ballot measures in Ohio. Most importantly, organizations and voters of different races, incomes, and zip codes joined forces to get behind this campaign, eager to work for a voting system that works for all Ohioans. Our message is clear: our democracy works best when every eligible voter can cast their ballot. The bottom line is that the COVID-19 pandemic hit right at the beginning of Ohio's precious signature gathering months, making it impossible to gather the signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot. While we litigated and won in federal court and were still willing to obtain the full number of signatures electronically — a method much safer during a pandemic — the state appealed that decision. Because of the timing of the appeal, we will not be able to get on the ballot in 2020, but it will not prevent our work to ensure voting is secure and fair for all Ohioans. The response from some Ohio officials underscores why people, not politicians, should decide how to update Ohio’s election laws. Our mission remains: We will continue the fight to modernize our voting and registration laws with popular, common sense updates that make our elections more secure and accessible so all eligible Ohioans have their voices heard and their vote protected.”
The following is a statement from J. Bennett Guess, Executive Director for the ACLU of Ohio:
“The ACLU of Ohio and its partners will continue to fight for widely popular, common sense election modernization through all means necessary. The strong, broad-based coalition we assembled over the last year remains committed to staying in the fight for election reform, under the same name, Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections. The people of this state deserve and demand a participatory democracy that is open and accessible to every eligible Ohioan. The COVID-19 pandemic and the messy, chaotic, and confusing primary underscores exactly why Ohio’s outdated election laws, which prevent voters from accessing their ballot and having it counted, must be updated and reformed.”