by German Lopez
Voters First says it will gather the signatures necessary by July 28 deadline
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Wednesday Voters
First did not turn in enough valid signatures for its redistricting
reform amendment. The organization will now have to gather 130,000 more
signatures before July 28 if the amendment is to appear on the November
The organization fired back in a statement Wednesday, saying it
will still have enough signatures to get the amendment on the ballot.
“We never stopped collecting signatures even after filing our
first round of petitions on July 3rd,” Dennis Willard, spokesperson for
Voters First, said in the statement.
The organization has criticized Republicans for building a
campaign against the Voters First amendment. In an email to Voters First
supporters Wednesday, Ann Henkener, a board member of the League of
Women Voters, said Republicans were holding meetings to find ways to
stop the amendment.
Henkener may not be far off. Dayton Daily News reported Tuesday
that Republicans have launched Protect Your Vote Ohio, a PAC in
opposition to the Voters First amendment. David Langdon, a
Cincinnati-based conservative, was named as the PAC’s treasurer.
If the Voters First amendment appeared on the ballot and passed,
redistricting would be placed in the hands of an independent citizens
commission. Under the current system, district boundaries are redrawn
every 10 years by state officials — a system politicians have taken
advantage of by redrawing districts in politically advantageous ways.
Cincinnati’s district was redrawn during the Republican-controlled
process to include more suburban and rural areas, particularly Warren
County, in a move that could give Republicans an advantage on Election