Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Allegations of Voter Fraud in Ohio Smoking Ban

Opponents of Ohio Bans has issued a new press release.

http://tinyurl. com/6f7do6

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire- USNewswire/ -- Ohio voters went to
their polling places to cast their votes in November, 2006 confident
that their vote would count and confident that what they read when
they voted would be enacted into law. Several ballot initiatives
appeared on that day. Issue 2 was the Minimum Wage ballot initiative,
described in 1039 words on the ballot. Issue 5, the Ohio smoking ban
ballot initiative, was described in 202 words. To refresh the
readers' memories, we've included that actual ballot as it appeared
at the polls.

Voters approved Issue 5 based on the ballot language. SmokeFree Ohio
wants us to believe the people who voted "YES" to exemptions really
meant "NO". Voters instead got this law:

-- NO exemptions for family owned and operated businesses
-- NO exemptions for private clubs
-- Exemptions for outdoor patios with restrictions
-- Smoking a cigarette in a prohibited area is not a violation of
the law

According to a public records request dated August 4, 2008, not one
individual has been fined in the State of Ohio for smoking. In fact
according to Lance Himes, Assistant Council for the Ohio Department
of Health, "merely smoking in one of these areas does not constitute
a violation."

If the Secretary of State is responsible for ensuring all elections
are free, fair, open and honest, who is responsible for ensuring that
the law voters approved is the law the voters ended up getting? The
Legislature is. Issue 5 was nothing more than a "bait and switch"
tactic. The Ohio Attorney General pursues criminal charges
against "bait and switch" companies doing business in Ohio. "Why are
ballot initiatives not guarded even more closely? If a vote is not
sacred, then what is? How is this not voter fraud?" asks Debi
Kistner, Opponents of Ohio Bans. "Nothing about Issue 5 was honest or

Voters were told there would be exemptions for family owned
businesses, private clubs and outdoor patios. We know now that it was
an illusion, a shell game. The Director for the Ohio Department of
Health, Dr. Alvin Jackson, claimed space was an issue and that
apparently is why "with no employees" and "not open to the public"
qualifying statements were left off the ballot initiative. Eight
words would have brought the wording to 210 words, quite short of
Issue 2's 1039 words. If space was an issue, why print these
exemptions at all? If the exemptions weren't to exist, that could
have saved an additional 12 words and a lot of confusion. Why were
the exemptions listed? To get YES votes.

SmokeFree Ohio told voters there was "no economic harm to businesses
from smoke-free policies". Opponents of Ohio Bans proved from public
records requests that the first year of the ban liquor permit holders
lost a potential of 67.44 million dollars in sales, which does not
include lost beer sales, vending (pool tables, juke boxes), etc. That
loss alone equates to over 4 million dollars in lost sales and use
taxes for the State of Ohio. Ohio's Gongwer Legislative News Service
dated August 15, 2008 reported the highest unemployment figures since
1992 with Hospitality and Leisure in the #1 spot beating Trade,
Utilities and Transportation combined. Tobacco control advocates
think if they keep repeating "there is no economic harm from smoking
bans" that it will make it so. It does not! The bottom line is people
are now choosing to drink (and smoke) at home, as the same public
records request showed with the increase of over 1.3 million more
bottles of liquor sold for home consumption in 2007 over what was
sold in 2006.

Voters were told the Department of Health would enforce the ban.
Reread the ballot language. Not only have they laid the enforcement
responsibilities on business owners, which was not on the ballot,
they've have now declared that smoking is not a violation of the law.
However, a business owner not telling a smoker to put the cigarette
out is a violation. This makes no sense. If a smoker is doing nothing
wrong legally, then why is a business owner required to say
anything? "It's like legally requiring a bank manager to inform
robbers while a robbery is in progress that robbing the bank is
against the law and then coming after the manager if he doesn't while
absolving the robbers of any crime," said Pam Parker, Opponents of
Ohio Bans.

Senate Bill 346 has been introduced to correct the bait and switch
tactics by SmokeFree Ohio. But time is running out. At the rate
hospitality businesses are closing, there won't be many left to save.
Most are barely hanging on. One bar owner called to say her 80 year
old father-in-law is about to lose his home that he borrowed against
to keep their 23 year bar business open. With DHL closing and Ohio
running out of unemployment funding, can Ohio also afford to bailout
those who lose their jobs from family owned businesses because of
apparent voter fraud? Where is the bailout for the business owners
who have invested years of hard work and are now depleting their
savings? "SB346 shouldn't be about politics," said Parker. "It's
about fixing a bad law based on apparent fraudulent language. It's
about saving Ohio jobs, family owned businesses and private clubs."

The only similarity between what voters read when they voted and the
law we currently have are the words "to enact Chapter 3794 of the
Ohio Revised Code".

Related Web site: http://www.opponentsofohio

SOURCE Opponents of Ohio Bans

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