Appalachian Basin

Ohio Highest Court Supports Election Chief: CELDF Anti-Fracking “Bill of Rights” Invalid

A Slip Opinion notice, State ex rel. Walker v. Husted, was just released by the Ohio Supreme Court, which found that Ohio’s election chief, Secretary Jon Husted acted within the scope of his authority to declare “ban fracking” and so-called “Community Bill of Rights” ballot initiatives pushed by the Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) invalid.

As a reminder, Secretary Husted recently emphasized that these ballot measures are inviolation of provisions of statutory and Ohio constitutional law.” He also noted,

Allowing these proposals to proceed will only serve a false promise that wastes taxpayer’s time and money and will eventually end in sending the charters to certain death in the courts.”

After Secretary Husted deemed these measures unconstitutional, CELDF’s own Tish O’Dell  filed a complaint demanding that the court overturn his decision.  O’Dell’s complaint alleged that Husted overstepped his authority by upholding protests submitted to his office against the county charter petitions.  O’Dell claimed that the Ohio constitution and case law stipulate that local ballot proposals cannot be withdrawn based on their content or substance.  The complaint was expeditiously heard by the Ohio Supreme Court, which disallowed CELDF’s complaint and supported Ohio’s election chief.  As result, Ohio communities will not be faced with costly county ballot measures this fall.

This news comes just after EID lifted the curtain on the CELDF and their efforts behind Ohio’s “local” anti-fracking campaigns.  The group’s antics were further exposed in articles such as “County Charter: You Say You Want a Revolution? Well, No” and “County Residence Can Protect Their Rights by Nixing Charter.”  As voters began to learn more about CELDF, and how costly their ballot measures would be, the Ohio Secretary of State Election Division received many letters and public complaints questioning the validity of the county charter ballot proposals in Athens, Fulton, and Medina Counties.

Over the past few months, Ohio has been subject to 9 possible “bill of rights” petition drives spearheaded from misinformation campaigns by the CELDF.  As of today, Portage County, Medina County, Fulton County, Meigs County, the City of Columbus, and Athens County “bill of rights” will not be on the November ballot.  That leaves only Youngstown, where voters have rejected the measure already 4 times, the Mahoning County Board of Elections denied a fifth attempt, and the entire measures is now under legal review, costing voters of Youngstown $80,000 so far.

From failed petition drives, to “ban fracking” rallies that prove to be huge bust, to insufficient affidavits to support their cause, the CELDF has had an onslaught of defeats.  The Ohio Supreme Court’s “Writ Denied” determination today has affirmed hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who have made their voices heard.


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