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Government & Politics

Ballot Advocates Call Referendum Roadblocks a National Trend

Photo of people voting
DAN KONIK
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A national group that advocates for citizens' access to the ballot is urging Ohio officials to not stand in the way of a potential referendum issue. The referendum would ask voters to reject the new energy law that bails out nuclear power and subsidizes coal and solar.

Opponents of the bailout want voters to reject it but are facing roadblocks on it’s path to the ballot. And the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center says that’s part of a larger trend.

The group's executive director, Chris Melody Fields Figueredo, says state legislatures have introduced more than 120 bills that make it harder to put issues on the ballot and harder to pass them.

"That is your voice, it's actually an opportunity for people to say what they want for their families, for their communities. It's so important to have a democracy that thrives, it's supposed to represent us."

The referendum group is rewriting its language after the attorney general rejected the first draft, which isn’t unusual for a first try. But a law firm argues that the subsidies are a tax increase, which are safe from referendum.