On Aug. 5, initial referendum petitions were filed with the attorney general and the secretary of state. After reviewing the summary, DeWine issued a letter certifying the summary language.
The bill changes several aspects of voting in Ohio including cutting from 35 to 16 days the number of days prior to an election that people may do in-person voting. The new law also prohibits Ohio's 88 counties from mailing absentee ballots to all voters, or to pay the return postage. In addition, the law prohibit county boards of election from setting up off-site early voting locations, and banning pre-paid postage for absentee ballots.
"Pursuant to R.C. 3519.01 (B) (3), I must examine the summary and determine whether it is a fair and truthful statement of the measure to be referred," DeWine said in issuing certification. "Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred, I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed referendum concerning Am. Sub. H.B. 194 of the 129th General Assembly."
For the certified referendum to proceed, the petitioners must collect signatures from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio's 88 counties, equal to three percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal six percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. The petition, containing at least the minimum number of signatures, must be filed with the Secretary of State not later than the effective date of the legislation, which is 90 days after it was enrolled with the secretary.