Opponents of Ohio's New Collective Bargaining Law Deliver 1.3 Million Signatures to Put Repeal on the Ballot

Yesterday, opponents of Ohio's recently-passed collective bargaining law marched through the streets of Columbus to deliver almost 1.3 million signatures, more than enough they say to put a repeal question on the November ballot.  

The bill, which was signed into law in March, bans public employees from striking and restricts collective bargaining rights for more than 350,000 state employees, teachers, police officers, and other public workers.  

According to the Toledo Blade, the 1.29 million signatures collected by the We Are Ohio campaign is a record, and represents 1 out of 6 of the state's 8 million registered voters. The number of signatures submitted, which must now be verified, are more than five times the number (231,000) required to qualify the referendum for the Nov. 8 ballot.  

County boards of elections will now validate the signatures in each county, and Secretary of State Jon Husted must validate the totals before a July 26 deadline.  Given these numbers, it seems likely that there are sufficient valid signatures to place the law before voters, which will stop the law from taking effect until after the election. 

A Quinnipiac University poll released May 18 found that 54 percent of Ohio voters think the law should be repealed, compared with 36 percent who want to keep it. 

A similar law went into effect in Wisconsin yesterday, where opponents of the law have filed numerous lawsuits and gathered enough signatures to force recall votes next month on six Republican senators.  Democrats need to win three of these races to gain control of the Senate.  In addition, there is an effort under way to force a recall vote for Governor Scott Walker in January.