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SB5 protestors gather signatures to repeal bill

Athens County volunteers fighting to repeal Senate Bill 5 reached more than 800 signatures last week — more than the minimum amount needed from the county.

Local volunteers collected and submitted 840 signatures in support of repealing the bill, which limits collective bargaining rights for 360,000 public employees across the state, said Nick Tuell, community organizer for Organizing for America.

Although statewide, petitioners must collect 231,147 signatures to put the measure on the ballot, the 526 needed from the county have been collected, said Matt McClellan, spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State.

To put the referendum on the ballot, at least 6 percent of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election must sign statewide and three percent of the turnout in the county for that election must sign in at least half of Ohio’s 88 counties, McClellan said.

More than 300 signatures were collected within a few hours at the Athens Farmers Market Saturday, April 23, and about 2,000 signatures were collected statewide during the weekend, said Tuell, who is an Ohio University sophomore studying political science.

There was so much interest in signing the ballot that organizers ran out of petitions, Tuell said.

“People were getting upset that there weren’t enough petitions,” Tuell said. “People are so excited about getting (SB5) repealed.”

Gregory Sigman, a librarian at OU, said he would love to see the bill repealed.

“It doesn’t solve the state’s budget problems,” Sigman said.

Tuell added he is very confident the bill will be repealed in November because of the interest of voters.

“We haven’t knocked on a door and haven’t spent a dollar on advertising,” Tuell said. “And the people are still coming to us. That means a lot.”


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