Better Lucas County, the volunteer group trying to put a proposed county charter on the Nov. 6 ballot, plans to stay together after a disappointing attempt to collect nearly 14,500 signatures.
Robert Reinbolt, a group co-leader, said the group met Tuesday and agreed to continue the effort.
On Monday, the Lucas County Board of Elections found that only 8,764 signatures out of 22,195 submitted in petitions June 29 were valid. That left the campaign thousands short of the 14,483 valid voter signatures needed to put a proposal to reorganize county government on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The group has until Aug. 28 to make up the signature deficit for the proposal to be submitted to county voters.
More than 4,000 otherwise valid voter signatures were thrown out because of mistakes by petition circulators in filling out the circulator's statement at the end of each part of the petition.
One of the required elements is that the circulator state the exact number of signatures that he or she witnessed, but on 42 part-petition forms, the number was incorrect or missing.
Several experienced politicos said confirming the number of signatures is something every elected official learns to do.
Mr. Reinbolt said Better Lucas County focused on verifying registered voters' names and overlooked double-checking the circulators' signature counts.
But even had the signatures voided because of the circulators' errors been accepted, the petition drive still would have come up 1,000 signatures short.
The signatures were collected partly by paid workers and partly by volunteers.
"Our people were not willing to give up," Mr. Reinbolt said. Attending the meeting were the five co-leaders and an intern who was helping to organize the petition drive.
"Each of us ran into several people today that now seem to be saying, 'What can we do to help? How can we get involved?' " Mr. Reinbolt said. "People out there are now aware of it. I'm hopeful we can tap into some of that energy."
A previous volunteer group last year proposed a Lucas County charter that would replace the traditional "row office" system, which has individually elected county department heads, with a county executive-county council form of government patterned after that of Cuyahoga County.
Better Lucas County took over the effort to get the question on the ballot and to educate voters about the proposed charter.