COLUMBUS, Ohio – Two or three van-loads – activist Sandy Theis isn't sure which – pulled up to the loading dock behind the Ohio Secretary of State's offices yesterday to deliver the 382,508 voter signatures contained in the 115 boxes of petitions gathered since June, all asking to put SB 16 – the so-called "Community Defense Act" – on the November ballot.
"Actually, we have to have 241,366 valid signatures from registered voters," said Theis, "and they are in the process now of determining how many of those 382,508 are indeed valid signatures from registered voters. We anticipate that we will need the supplementary petition portion of our program. It is very, very uncommon to get them on the first try, which is why we are going to continue to collect; we are not stopping. Even though we had this massive delivery yesterday, we will continue to collect them today and until they tell us that we made it or we can't make it anymore. So we anticipate them saying we've fallen short, and once we get that official word, we will have 10 additional business days to continue to collect."
And why would there possibly be a 140,000 signature shortfall?
"You never know what will happen," Theis warned. "We might have problems with the Board of Elections and they might throw some out, and CCV [Citizens for Community Values, which got SB 16 passed in the first place] is already out there saying they're going to be challenging them, but the problem most likely will be that we didn't hit all of the 44 counties."
The petitioners need 3% of the registered voters from the last gubernatorial election from each of 44 of Ohio's 88 counties for the ballot measure to be authorized, and Theis is hopeful that the signature gatherers did their jobs properly and gathered the requisite names.
"Our most populous county that we collected from is Cuyahoga County, which is the home of Cleveland, and that is the state's most populous county," Theis detailed, "and our second-highest number of boxes came from Franklin County, home of Columbus, and then Hamilton County, Cincinnati's home – Hamilton and Lucas County, home of Toledo, there were eight boxes, so we did real well in all the urban areas."
Theis described employees of the Ohio Secretary of State's office, which had to be opened specially to receive the petitions, as "very gracious, and didn't seem grumpy at all about having to work on Labor Day."
"We had a good event," she recalled, "though the Cincinnati Enquirer didn't report a word of it. We had a dancer from Cincinnati doing our presentation, because we thought it would be a good message to send that not everyone in Cincinnati agrees with censorship and bigotry, so we were a little disappointed that the hometown paper chose not to cover it."
The Enquirer was formerly owned by Carl Lindner, Jr., whose family founded the Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, and who personally has contributed millions to religio-conservative causes.
So the signature gathering is continuing ... and that will continue to cost money, as will the advertising campaign to support the initiative once it gets on the ballot.
So in order for the fight to continue, adult businesses across the country are urged to make contributions to the petition effort, which can now be done on the organization's website, www.citizensforcommunitystandards.org.
Contributions, large or small, can also be mailed to:
c/o Rondee Kamins
3700 Kelley Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114
C/O LD Management
Attention: Jim Everett
110 East Wilson Ridge Rd. Suite 100
Worthington, Ohio 43085
(Make checks payable to "BACE.")
Please contribute whatever you can.