The ResponsibleOhio campaign turned in 695,273 signatures to try to put marijuana legalization on Ohio’s 2015 Election ballot. That’s more than twice the required 305,591 valid signatures, and means that of the signatures turned in, roughly 43.95% of them needed to be valid. Considering that the campaign hired professional signature gatherers, the validity rate didn’t seem like that big of a hurdle to jump over. However, that proved to be the case, as the ResponsibleOhio campaign failed to make the ballot due to a super low signature validity rate. Per Cleveland.com:
Pro-pot group ResponsibleOhio fell more than 29,000 signatures short of the number required to qualify its marijuana legalization issue for the November ballot, but will have 10 days to make up the difference.
To qualify for the ballot, ResponsibleOhio must collect at least 305,591 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters and meet a certain threshold in 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
Of the 660,190 signatures tallied by the secretary of state’s office, about 42 percent — 276,082 — were verified as valid by county boards of election. ResponsibleOhio had reported last month it submitted 695,273 signatures.
The political action committee plans to challenge the boards’ count, which they say excluded more than 40,000 signatures.
The campaign has until the 30th of this month to gather the needed signatures. Although the campaign only needs about 29,000 valid signatures to make the ballot, with such a historically low validity rate, they will need to actually gather over 69,000 signatures in the ten day window to ensure that enough of them are valid. ResponsibleOhio has a ton of money, and a small army of signature gatherers, so there’s a very good chance that they will still meet their goal. To put into perspective just how low the validity rate is for the ResponsibleOhio signature effort, consider a tweet that Russ Belville sent out yesterday:
Sigs @CheesersDurden OH Casinos ’09 = 51% validity rate OR MJ ’12 = 58% WA MJ ’12 = 78% CO MJ ’12 = 54% OR MJ ’14 = 61% OH MJ ’15 = 40%?!?
— Russ Belville (@RadicalRuss) July 20, 2015