The charter government initiative will not be on the Fulton County ballot in November following a Thursday decision by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
Husted ruled on protests filed with his office that questioned the validity of county charter ballot proposals in Fulton as well as Athens and Medina Counties. In all three counties, he upheld the protests by invalidating the charter proposals and certifying that they would not receive a place on the Nov. 3 General Election ballot.
As part of his decision, Husted said that the proposed provisions in each of the charters relating to oil and gas exploration represented an attempt to circumvent state law in a manner the courts have already found to be in violation of the Ohio Constitution.
“The issue of whether local communities can get around state laws on fracking has already been litigated,” Husted said. “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.”
Under the Ohio Revised Code, the Secretary of State, in his role as the chief elections officer, is required to determine the validity of both the proposal and the petitions submitted and rule on whether or not the petition should qualify for the ballot.
Furthermore, the Husted insisted that the proposed ballot initiatives fail to properly establish an “alternative form of county government” as prescribed by Section 301 and 302 of the Ohio Revised Code.
“Having carefully reviewed the law, court decisions and the materials submitted in connection with the protests, I find that the… petitions violate… provisions of statutory and Ohio constitutional law,” wrote Husted.