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Ohio Voters Bill of Rights Won't Be On 2014 Ballot

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSPD) -- A group trying to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot guaranteeing certain voting rights in Ohio has come up short of being able to move forward in 2014.

The Ohio Voters Bill of Rights group now hopes to gather the needed signatures to get the issue before voters in either 2015 or 2016. 

"This is not a quick fix nor a temporary fix. We're going for a permanent fix," said State Rep. Alicia Reece, a Cincinnati Democrat who is president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus. 

The amendment to the Ohio Constitution would define what the voting rights of Ohioans are. That would include voting hours and methods which have been the subject of numerous court battles since the 2004 election.

Reece says the campaign has collected about 100,000 signatures in 90 days, well short of the needed 385,000 signatures. There is no expiration on signatures, so they can be turned in at any time.

The Ohio Voter Bill of Rights has been a grassroots movement of churches, civic groups, civil rights organizations, labor unions and progressive partners. They'll continue to push to keep the issue in the minds of Ohioans even without being on the ballot. Reece announced a statewide conference to bring together to discuss the issue and come up with a strategy for getting the issue on the ballot.

Reece says paid signature gatherers are an option, but not one they've turned to yet.

"We're the only state right now in the entire country where the everyday citizen has an opportunity to have a voice on this," she said.

The so-called "Ohio Freedom Summer" comes on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Amendment.

 

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