Political briefs – June 26

Politics briefs

SEN. BROWN APPLAUDS LANDMARK SUPREME COURT RULING ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, deemed it unconstitutional for states to deny marriage licenses to same sex couples:

“Today the Supreme Court has finally put our nation on the right side of history. Marriage equality is now the law of the land across our country, including in Ohio, and states should immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, who have waited too long already.

“This decision comes in no small part because of the courage of Ohioan Jim Obergefell, and all those who have fought for marriage equality. Anyone who has heard Jim tell his story can’t fail to be moved. It’s long past time that our laws recognized his marriage and all other same-sex marriages.

“While today we celebrate this momentous step forward for equality, we know our work is not yet finished. We must continue fighting discrimination against LGBT Americans and all other communities. The arc of history is bending a little further toward justice today, but our work to create a more perfect union, with equality and justice for all, continues.”

BOARD CERTIFIES MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION AMENDMENT AS A SINGLE BALLOT ISSUE – The Ohio Ballot Board today certified the ballot initiative sponsored by Ohioans to End Prohibition titled “Cannabis Control Amendment” as a single issue.

Petitioners will now need to collect 305,591 signatures, which is equal to 10 percent of the total vote cast for governor in 2014, in order to place the issue on the ballot. As part of the total number of signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot, petitioners must also have collected signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and within each of those counties, collect enough signatures equal to five percent of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, 2014.

14 INVESTIGATED FOR ILLEGAL VOTING IN OHIO – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted released the post-general election voter fraud report based on a review of cases by Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections and the Secretary of State’s office following the 2014 Gubernatorial Election. The report identified 42 irregularities with 14 individuals being referred for additional investigation or prosecution.

“The findings of this report demonstrate once again that voter fraud exists, it’s rare and we are holding people accountable for their actions,” Secretary Husted said. “Voter fraud, no matter how rare, reduces the confidence in our system of elections and it can’t be tolerated.”

In January 2015, Secretary Husted issued Directive 2015-01, instructing all county boards of elections to adopt policies to review substantiated allegations of voter fraud or voter suppression. This is the state’s second voter fraud report, the first having been issued by Secretary Husted after the 2012 Presidential Election.

Additionally, Ohio again participated in a cross match program with other U.S. states in order to identify individuals who may have voted in more than one state’s elections. This found two individuals who allegedly cast a ballot in Ohio and other states, Kentucky and Illinois. Secretary Husted will refer these two cases to the Attorney General for further investigation and possible prosecution.

The additional 12 cases were identified by county boards of elections and referred to the proper county prosecutor. The board reports have turned up zero cases where a voter was denied a ballot and no referrals have been made as a result of voters claiming suppression.

It is important to note that every case of alleged fraud identified by the boards of elections that included a voter attempting to cast multiple ballots was thwarted and no potentially fraudulent ballots are suspected of deciding an election.

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