Friday, August 19, 2011

Are Ohio Democrats Threatening the Buckeye State's New May Presidential Primary?

Alan Johnson at The Columbus Dispatch in updating Ohio Democrats' efforts to repeal parts of the recently-passed elections bill seems to also hint at the possibility of it tearing down the new May presidential primary as well. The crux of the matter:
[Ohio Attorney General Mike] DeWine rejected the initial language submitted by the group, finding that it contained inaccurate and misleading statements and cited wrong sections of law. As a result, Fair Elections Ohio had to restart the process. This time, the coalition opted to repeal the entire law instead of parts of it, as the opponents initially proposed.
The Fair Elections Ohio referendum proposal as well as DeWine's and Secretary of State John Husted's acceptance of the revised language appear to be (inadvertently???) potentially affecting the scheduling of the Buckeye state presidential primary. Granted, DeWine and Husted required a fairly high bar in terms of the petition signatures needed to get the item on the ballot for the November 2012 general election. The bar is high at 231,147 signatures and the window of time in which to gather them is relatively short at about six weeks (before September 29).

If Fair Elections Ohio gathers the required number of valid petition signatures in time, the new elections law would be suspended until Ohio voters can arbitrate the matter in November 2012. That suspension of the law would move the presidential primary back to the first Tuesday in March, and also put a great deal of pressure on local Ohio elections officials to be prepared in time for the primary after redistricting takes place later this summer and fall.

That's makes one more item to add to FHQ's primer on when the remaining states may decide on the timing of their primaries and caucuses.

Thanks to Richard Winger at Ballot Access News for passing along the link to the Columbus Dispatch article.

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