Ohio Casino Petitioning Begins - Thursday 12th of May 2005

Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell and fellow casino supporters kicked off a statewide scramble for signatures this week, aimed at a November referendum allowing big cities to vote on casinos. "Campbell and political adviser Jerry Austin announced Wednesday the christening of Ohioans for Local Option, a political action committee that hopes to gather 322,899 valid signatures by Aug. 10, to place a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution on the fall ballot.

"The amendment would allow home-rule cities that are county seats, or that have at least 50,000 residents, to vote on whether they want casinos. Counties with an entertainment attraction that draws more than 1 million tourists a year - Cedar Point in Erie County and Paramount's Kings Island in Warren County - would also be allowed a casino vote. Campbell stressed that casinos are not a cure-all for America's poorest big city, but would generate jobs and strengthen downtown's package of entertainment venues. "…Ohioans for Local Option must gather 450,000 to 500,000 signatures, assuming that roughly one in four will not be valid.

Signatures must include at least 5 percent of voters in each of 44 Ohio counties - half of the counties in the state. "…The campaign needs about $1 million to hire a signature-gathering firm and to coordinate a statewide network of volunteer petitioners, Austin said…"

Ohio Plain Dealer

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