3519.16 Jurisdiction over challenges to petitions; part-petitions.

(A) Pursuant to Section 1g of Article II, Ohio Constitution, the supreme court of Ohio shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in all challenges to initiative and referendum petitions.

(B) The committee interested in a petition shall include upon each part-petition filed with the secretary of state a designation of the county in which the part-petition was circulated and a number for the part-petition. In any county where part-petitions are circulated, each part-petition shall be numbered sequentially. The committee shall sort the part-petitions by county. Upon filing the petition with the secretary of state, the committee also shall file the following:

(1) An electronic copy of the petition along with a verification that the electronic copy is a true representation of the original filed paper petition;

(2) A summary of the number of part-petitions filed per county, and the number of signatures on each part-petition;

(3) An index of the electronic copy of the petition.

(C) From the time the petition is initially filed with the secretary of state and until the part-petitions are returned to the secretary of state by the boards of elections after a determination of sufficiency under section 3519.15 of the Revised Code, any request for the inspection or copying of the original petition filed with the secretary of state under Chapter 149. of the Revised Code is fulfilled if the secretary of state permits the inspection of or provides copies of the electronic copy of the petition filed by the circulator.

(D) Discrepancies between the electronic copy of a petition filed under division (B)(1) of this section and the original paper petition filed with the secretary of state shall not render the petition invalid. Such discrepancies, if the product of fraud, shall be subject to criminal penalties under section 3599.36 of the Revised Code.

(E) The properly verified part-petitions, together with an electronic copy of the part-petitions, shall be returned to the secretary of state not less than one hundred ten days before the election, provided that, in the case of an initiated law to be presented to the general assembly, the boards shall promptly check and return the petitions together with their report. The secretary of state shall determine the sufficiency of the signatures not later than one hundred five days before the election. The secretary of state promptly shall notify the chairperson of the committee in charge of the circulation as to the sufficiency or insufficiency of the petition and the extent of the insufficiency.

(F) If the petition is found insufficient because of an insufficient number of valid signatures, the committee shall be allowed ten additional days after the notification by the secretary of state for the collection and filing of additional signatures to the petition. When the secretary of state makes that notification, the secretary of state simultaneously shall provide the chairperson with both a paper copy and an electronic copy of the unique petition form described in division (D) of section 3519.05 of the Revised Code. At that time, the secretary of state also shall make the form available to the public on the secretary of state's official web site and shall transmit the form electronically to the boards of elections. Upon request, a board of elections shall provide a paper or electronic copy of the form to any person.

No additional signatures shall be collected or submitted to the secretary of state by the committee interested in the petition, or by any person acting on behalf of the committee, during the period beginning on the date that the petition is initially submitted to the secretary of state and ending on the date that the secretary of state notifies the chairperson of the committee that the petition has an insufficient number of valid signatures. If the committee, or any person acting on behalf of the committee, submits additional signatures, the signatures must be on the form provided by the secretary of state under this division and only signatures that were signed and collected during the ten-day period to collect and submit additional signatures may be submitted.

If additional signatures are filed, the secretary of state shall determine the sufficiency of those additional signatures not later than sixty-five days before the election. The part-petitions of the supplementary petition that appear to the secretary of state to be properly verified, upon their receipt by the secretary of state, shall forthwith be forwarded to the boards of the several counties together with the part-petitions of the original petition that have been properly verified. They shall be immediately examined and passed upon as to the validity and sufficiency of the signatures on them by each of the boards and returned within eight days to the secretary of state with the report of each board. No signature on a supplementary part-petition that is the same as a signature on an original part-petition shall be counted. The number of signatures in both the original and supplementary petitions, properly verified, shall be used by the secretary of state in determining the total number of signatures to the petition that the secretary of state shall record and announce. If they are sufficient, the amendment, proposed law, or law shall be placed on the ballot as required by law. If the petition is found insufficient, the secretary of state shall notify the committee in charge of the circulation of the petition.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 3, SB 47, §1, eff. 6/21/2013.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.105, SB 295, §1, eff. 8/15/2012.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.40, HB 194, §1 Made subject to referendum in the Nov. 6, 2012 election. The version of this section thus amended was repealed by 129th General AssemblyFile No.105, SB 295, §1, eff. 8/15/2012.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.29, HB 48, §1, eff. 7/2/2010.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953; 05-07-2004