According to the Board of Elections, we have 100,792 registered voters.
According to the Census we have 141,527 residents. Simple math says 71% of our residents are registered to vote. But, wait- we have residents under 18, and therefore not eligible to vote- according to the census bureau, in Ohio, 23.5% are under 18.
That means we have 108,268 residents over 18 and eligible to vote- and 100,792 registered voters- or 93% of voters are registered. How could any candidate turn in petitions, gathered using the voter registration rolls- come in under 93% correct signatures- since almost EVERYONE would be a registered voter.
From the Dayton Daily today:
Dayton has lost 14.8 percent of its population since 2000…according to the 2010 Census.
Dayton lost 24,652 people during the decade, according to the data released Wednesday. That was twice the loss previously estimated in 2009 and puts Dayton’s population at 141,527, its lowest since 1920, when it had 152,559 residents.
“The mission is to reverse that trend,” said Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell. “We want to attract people who are taxpayers, entrepreneurs, self-starters.”
And while Mayor Leitzell is absolutely right that we need to attract people who are taxpayers- those are also voters, and being offered zero opportunity to petition government for changes in our laws is counter to that goal.
The outdated City Charter requires that a petitioner get signatures of 25% of the registered voters to place a recall on the ballot. With an over 80% average rejection rate of signatures, this is an overly onerous law. Considering we’ve lost many large employers to areas with lower income tax rates in the area over the last 10 years: Mead, Reynolds & Reynolds, Woolpert, NCR, Teradata, whose employees- including their CEOs who make very large salaries- have decided that taxation without the ability to vote or change the law- isn’t for them.
In every other community, petition standards for legislative change have thresholds based on a percentage of the voter turnout in the last general election. Not so in Dayton.
It’s time to force a change in the Charter- through legal challenge. The fact that registered voters signatures have been disqualified- despite being witnessed by a petitioner who had to certify in front of a Notary Public that these signatures were legal, valid signatures- with a threatened punishment of a 5th degree felony, says there has been a miscarriage of justice with the sole objective of limiting ballot access and voter determination.
The City can’t have it both ways- either 93% of residents are registered voters- and it is statistically impossible to turn in petitions with a margin of error of less than 7% when using the voter registration lists- or, the standard is illegal.
Please consider a contribution today to the legal fund to file for immediate injunctive relief- all money will go to the legal team that fights for your rights to petition government.
If we don’t file the lawsuit- the money will be returned to you.
The Ohio Revised Code has modern legal laws in place to handle these issues with easily attainable standards. It’s time Dayton modernized it’s Charter and allowed the people to have their voices heard- those that still live here and pay taxes that is.