Opponents of Ohio's election reform law have come up approximately 10,000 signatures short of what they need to put the law on the November 2012 ballot as a referendum, according to Ohio Secretary of State, Jon Husted.
Although they submitted 333,063 signatures, only 221, 572 of them were valid. 231,150 signatures are required from 44 of Ohio's 88 counties. Within each of those counties, petition circulators needed top collect signatures equal to or exceeding three percent of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election. Proponents of the petition met their obligation, exceeding the three percent threshold in 53 counties, according to Husted.
Having failed in their signature gathering efforts, opponents of the Republican sponsored bill will have 10 days to make up the difference. Additional signatures must be submitted to the Secretary of State's office no later than Thursday, November 24.
H.B. 194, shortens the early voting period, both by absentee ballot and at early voting centers. Republicans called for the reforms, arguing that the bill will level the playing field between urban counties with vast resources to mobilize votes and rural counties where fewer financial resources are available. Democrats took advantage of their majority in urban areas by sending tou unsolicited absentee ballots that included return postage. Republicans argue that political parties in rural counties do not have the resources to counter urban domination. H.B. 104 prohibits the mailing of unsolicited absentee ballots.
Democrats argue that the only goal of the Republican legislation is to make it harder to vote. Labeling it the "Voter Supression Bill," Democrats hope to get enough signatures to put the law to a popular vote in 2012.