Based on early vows, rumors and predictions, Ohio’s November ballot was going to be rife with every hot voter topic of the day: gay marriage, right to work, medical marijuana, clean energy and voter rights.
As of Wednesday’s signature deadline, not one issue survived — though many activists have vowed to try again for 2015.
Advocates for several of the issues say it’s more difficult and expensive to pursue the direct democracy route in Ohio, despite a constitutional guarantee that allows citizens to challenge laws. Other issues blazed then fizzled before making much headway through the qualification process.
But some say even a failed ballot campaign has its value. Blanketing street corners and festivals for months or years in this critical battleground state keeps the issue before voters, even if it doesn’t make the ballot, and can slow or speed up the legislative process.
“It does have value for rallying the troops. You do want to get folks excited about an issue, and a ballot effort serves to do that,” said Carrie Davis, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “Those have value just in terms of generating public discussion and public interest, and of course we’ve seen the poll numbers shift in Ohio on some of these issues as people are talking about it.”