Ohio Reform Initiative Lookin' Good
Wow, that was fast. ReformOhioNow, a group that began a late-breaking effort to get a package of election and redistricting reform initiatives on the November 2005 ballot, appears to have succeeded in meeting the state's ballot requirements by the August 1 deadline.
RON filed 520,000 petitions for the ballot measures. If 322,000 of them are valid, then the three initiatives--one on redistricting, one reversing a GOP effort to relax the state's campaign finance laws, and one stripping election administration from the highly partisan secretary of state's office--will go before Ohio voters.
How big a deal is this? Well, big enough that the Ohio GOP--with backing from Republicans in Washington--is scurrying into court to try to stop the initiative. And it's apparently the redistricting measure that has them really worried. Here's what the anti-reform leader told The New York Times:
A former Republican president of the Ohio Senate, Richard Finan, last week filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court pre-emptively challenging the petitions because they did not identify the passages that would be deleted from the Constitution.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Finan said if the suit failed, a new group he had founded, Ohio First, would take up the cause with the expected backing of Republicans in Washington. Mr. Finan predicted that if the redistricting amendment became law, Republicans would lose six seats in the House of Representatives and that "you'll see this idea spread to other states."
Sounds good to me. --