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Published: Tuesday, 8/28/2012

Govt. reform group tries again to get issue on ballot

BY KATE GIAMMARISE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A group that wants to reform Lucas County government through a ballot question to go before voters in November submitted additional petitions today to the Lucas County Board of Elections.

The group needs 5,719 further valid signatures to get on the ballot; it turned in 7,093 signatures, said Bob Reinbolt, one of the leaders of the effort.

“That give us a bit of a cushion,” said Mr. Reinbolt, who characterized the group as cautiously optimistic that the measure would make the ballot.

The Better Lucas County group aims to reorganize county government from the current row-office form of government to a county executive system.

Under the proposed reform plan, 10 existing elected county offices would be converted to appointed jobs. Voters would elect a county executive and a nine-member county council. The proposed charter is modeled on a new form of government recently enacted in Cuyahoga County.

In June, the group turned in 22,195 signatures; well over half of these — 13,431 signatures — were invalid, however, leaving only 8,764 that were considered valid by the Board of Elections. Thousands of the signatures were thrown out because of petition circulators’ mistakes that could have been easily fixed, such as petitions lacking correct signature totals.

The group needs 14,483 valid voter signatures to get on the November ballot.

Mr. Reinbolt said today that the group was also able to register about 2,000 new voters. He also said the group learned from the mistakes it made with earlier petitions and was careful to make sure signatures and numbers were in the correct places on the petitions.

The number of signatures the group has gathered shows the interest voters have in the issue, he said.



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