Ohio Secretary of State invalidates anti-fracking county charter initiatives

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Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted recently ruled to invalidate anti-fracking ballot proposals related to hydraulic fracturing, injection wells, and pipelines in three Ohio counties: Medina, Athens, and Fulton.

In his role as the chief elections officer, the Ohio Secretary of State is charged with the task of determining the validity of both proposals and petitions, and must rule as to whether a petition should qualify for the ballot.

The proposals, had they been allowed to proceed to the ballots in November, sought to amend county charters to create a county bill of rights under the theory of community rights. These proposals, while characterized as “local rights,” are backed by Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a Pennsylvania-based organization that has brought similar, unsuccessful proposals throughout the country.

Given Husted’s ruling, the proposals will not appear on the November 3 ballots in any of these three counties. Husted stated that allowing the proposals to move forward would ultimately result in a waste of taxpayer time and money because the proposals would ultimately be invalidated through the courts due to the fact that they improperly attempt to circumvent state law and violate the Ohio Constitution.

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