Opponents of a new elections law scheduled to take effect Friday say they have collected enough signatures to challenge the law and hold it in abeyance until after the November 2012 election.
A Statehouse press conference is scheduled for Thursday by Fair Elections Ohio to announce that it has at least the 231,324 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters for a referendum on House Bill 194, signed into law on July 1 by Gov. John Kasich.
Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio and spokesman for Fair Elections Ohio, would not reveal the number of signatures gathered, but said, “We’re way ahead of projections and we expect to have a good day tomorrow.”
Once the signatures are turned over to the Ohio secretary of state, the new law automatically will be put on hold. The signatures then will be sent to the 88 county elections boards to be validated, a process estimated to take 10 to 15 days. If Fair Elections Ohio comes up short after the county boards’ count, it would have 10 days to gather more signatures.
Rothenberg said the coalition will continue collecting signatures while the county boards are counting to ensure there ultimately will be enough for the November 2012 referendum on the election law.
“Tomorrow’s press conference doesn’t mean we’ve stopped collecting signatures,” he said, adding that it took a remarkable effort to gather the more than 230,000 signatures in less than six weeks.