Mixed Messages on the Issues

Voters are heard on city and state ballot issues

City voters sent a mixed message on the two ballot issues before them, both placed on the ballot by a group of local activists and political organizations.

Issue 8, the referendum on proportional representation, was turned down by 53.6-46.4 percent, meaning that voters won’t be able to rank their preferences in order of one through nine in the next Cincinnati City Council election.

Issue 7, a referendum to prohibit Cincinnati City Council from approving “red-light” cameras in the future, passed 51.2-48.8 percent.

Even in counties where all precincts have been counted, results are unofficial until certified by county boards of elections — and that comes only after provisional ballots and ballots from overseas are counted.

In statewide voting, casino gambling (Issue 6) went down in flames with 62.75 percent (3 million) against and 37.25 percent (1.8 million) in favor. The gloom-and-doom warnings about Ohio cash going to surrounding states with legal gaming and more than 5,000 prospective new jobs did seem to sway voters in favor of higher crime rates and gambling addiction.

But paranoia seems to have won out with Issue 3, a constitutional amendment claiming to protect private property rights. Even though these same rights are already protected by state law and numerous Ohio Supreme Court rulings, most Ohioans seem to think the state constitution will better protect their water, mineral and development rights. The measure received 72 percent approval (3.2 million votes), with 28 percent (1.2 million) opposed.

Tree huggers and environmental justice advocates did their job well with Issue 2, an obvious winner with 69 percent (3.1 million) of Ohioans agreeing to renew the Clean Ohio bond and only 31 percent (1.4 million) opposing.

The margin of passage for Issue 5, the “payday lending” restrictions, appears to enjoy an equally clear majority: 63.7 percent (3 million) agreeing to restrict so-called “predatory lending” practices and only 36.43 percent (1.7 million) opposing. The referendum is certain to draw lawsuits from the lending industry for restricting the freedom of choice for their customers and from privacy groups opposed to the state database that will collect personal information on those using the payday lending services.

But with final results not yet known, nothing will be official until the fat man yodels a few days from now.

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