ResponsibleOhio registering voters, claims more than 550K signatures collected for marijuana amendment

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A campaign to legalize marijuana in Ohio is registering voters to boost its chances of qualifying for the November ballot.

More than 55,000 Ohioans who have signed ResponsibleOhio’s petition also completed a voter registration form, the group said Tuesday. More than 305,000 signatures of Ohio voters are required to get the issue on a statewide ballot.

“It is exciting to see so many people take an interest in this movement and register to vote,” ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James said in a press release. “By data entering and cross-checking signatures against the voter file, we will pre-certify for the ballot and be well positioned to translate this early enthusiasm into votes at the ballot box.”

County boards of election verify signatures against voter registration records. Usually, thousands are rejected because the signer is not registered to vote in Ohio or gave incorrect or incomplete information when signing the petition. Registering voters alongside accepting their signatures on the petition might mean a higher signature acceptance rate.

A spokesman for the secretary of state’s office said groups often submit voter registrations alongside petitions.

The campaign announced Tuesday it had collected more than 550,000 signatures and met the necessary threshold in 70 Ohio counties.

Signatures must be turned into the Ohio secretary of state’s office by July 1 to qualify for the November ballot. The group plans to continue registering voters through the October voter registration deadline.

ResponsibleOhio wants to legalize marijuana for personal and medical use for adults age 21 and older and establish a legal marijuana industry fueled by 10 growing sites promised to campaign investors.

James also heads the Strategy Network, a Columbus-based consulting firm that specializes in collecting signatures and getting issues on the statewide ballot.

At least four other groups are working to legalize marijuana at the ballot box.




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