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Ohio secretary of state determines SB5 referendum can't be split up

  • Jon-Husted-SB-5

    The office of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says the Ballot Board cannot divide the SB 5 referendum.

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • John-Kasich-GOP-SB-5-ballot

    Gov. John Kasich and other Republicans who support Senate Bill 5 may be seeking to break up opposition to the collective bargaining law by breaking up the measure on the ballot.

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jon-Husted-SB-5

The office of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says the Ballot Board cannot divide the SB 5 referendum.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

COLUMBUS -- Secretary of State Jon Husted's office issued a statement Thursday morning that the Ohio Ballot Board could not split a referendum into multiple issues -- which could throw a wrench into Gov. John Kasich and his allies' plans to defend Senate Bill 5.

"The Ballot Board cannot divide a referendum up into multiple issues," Husted's spokesman Matt McClellan said in an email.

"Only initiated petitions, such as citizen-proposed statutes or citizen-proposed constitutional amendments may be divided up by the Ballot Board."

The Kasich administration and others who support Senate Bill 5 are talking to the ballot board about breaking up the measure into multiple questions when it lands on the ballot via referendum this fall, the Columbus Dispatch reported Thursday.

The Ohio Revised Code specifically permits the five-member board to divide a ballot initiative or proposed constitutional amendment, but appears to be silent on splitting a referendum. In at least two recent initiatives sponsored by the Ohio Liberty Group and Reform Ohio Now, the ballot board indeed split language that was turned in by petitioners into multiple questions to voters.

Those who support Senate Bill 5, including the Kasich administration, are confident the board could split the bill -- which weakens collective bargaining for public employees through several different provisions -- into multiple questions.

Husted, who chairs the GOP-controlled ballot board, disagrees.

John-Kasich-GOP-SB-5-ballot

Gov. John Kasich and other Republicans who support Senate Bill 5 may be seeking to break up opposition to the collective bargaining law by breaking up the measure on the ballot.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

READ PREVIOUS STORY: Kasich, GOP considering ballot questions on each provision of contentious labor law

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