Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner Refuses LetOhioVote.org's Slots Referendum
The office of the Secretary of State of Ohio refused to accept materials from a consecutive organization on July 23rd, 2009 hoping to force a referendum on a plan allowing up to 17,500 slot machines in Ohio, an expanded gaming measure of Governor Ted Strickland approved last week when he signed the operating budget of the state.
LetOhioVote.org submitted petitions with about three thousand signatures asking the Secretary of State and the Ohio Attorney General's office to approve a referendum for the ballot in November 2010 asking state voters if they want slot machines approved or not. But the secretary's office, supported by the attorney general, rejected the materials. The organization is wagering a 2-part battle against the slot machine plan of Governor Strickland.
First, the group filed a lawsuit on July 20th, 2009 asking for the slot proposal to be removed from the state budget. The court has set a hearing on the issue, which could be resolved in August. LetOhioVote.org also launched its petition drive hoping to put the issue on the ballot next year, assuming that it will be successful in the state Supreme Court.
Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's office told LetOhioVote.org that its request for the slots referendum was impossible at the moment because the slot machine plan is a part of a legislative bill. But the group disagreed and has asked Secretary Brunner to reconsider her decision. For the meantime, Brunner's office is expected to respond filed by the group at the Supreme Court next week.
Legalizing slot machines was a highly controversial issue but an important piece to Gov. Strickland's plans for a balanced state budget over the next 2 years. The administration is counting on the slot machines to bring in a total of $933 million by June 2011 in gaming revenues and licensing costs.
The slot machine plan was a very divisive issue for legislators that just 6 Republicans in the General Assembly voted for the budget proposal but it was enough to help carry over the bill to the governor's desk for him to approve it into law.