Statehouse News Bureau exposes fraud in referendum push


For immediate release: July 17, 2007
Contact: David Miller, 513-733-5775

Statehouse News Bureau exposes fraud in referendum push

Paid circulators misrepresent petition’s goal.

Columbus, Ohio — In a story released July 12, the capitol-beat reporter for the Ohio Statehouse News Bureau revealed that some Ohioans who favor recently enacted regulations on Ohio’s sex businesses are mistakenly signing a petition that could lead to those regulations being wiped out.

Reporter Bill Cohen recorded petition circulators as they approached potential signers of the petition that would prevent Senate Bill 16, the Community Defense Act, from going into effect on September 4th as scheduled. The petition would force the issue to Ohio’s November ballot.

To hear the petition circulators’ fraudulent descriptions of the petition, plus interviews with voters who subsequently felt misled into signing, click here. Cohen’s follow up to that first story can be found here.

The very clear message of the paid circulators was that their petition would “restrict the hours of strip clubs.”  No mention was made that a law limiting the hours of strip clubs and other sex businesses already had been passed and that the petition’s real purpose was to squelch that law.

David Miller, vice president of public policy for Citizens for Community Values, a pro-family group that worked with legislators to develop a law that would regulate sex businesses in two limited areas while giving local governments assistance in further regulating such businesses, was not surprised by the report.

Said Miller, “We began warning people as soon as the sex businesses announced their referendum effort – the only way they can convince a majority of Ohioans to vote down this protective law is through deceit.”

Miller said that he would investigate legal measures available to protect voters from continued fraud in the petition campaign.


Part 1: Read & Listen by clicking here.

Michael Adams, petition circulator: “Excuse me sir. How you doin’? Are you a registered voter? Ok, great. This is a petition to try to put on the ballot for voters, uh, can restrict the hours of strip clubs here in Franklin County.”

Kanchasa (sp?) Reese (answering Cohen), who had just signed the petition: “If it was up to me, I’d have them closed down for good. I think it’s degrading to women.”

Q (Cohen): “So you’d like to have limits on strip clubs?”

A (Reese): “Yeah.”

Rachel Sheline, (answering Cohen) petition signer: “They’re nasty.”

Q (Cohen): “If there would be a statewide limit on strip clubs, say cutting down their hours and saying the patrons couldn’t touch the dancers, you’d be for that?”

A (Sheline): “Yes.”

Q (Cohen): “You don’t like strip clubs?”

A (Sheline): “No.”

Q (from Cohen): “And that’s why you signed the petition?”

A (Sheline): “Yes.”

Wayne Muncy, petition signer: “I signed that same petition already. It’s to restrict the hours of strip clubs so that they can’t operate after 12 p.m.”

Q (Cohen): “You’d like to restrict the strip clubs?”

A (Muncy): “Yes.”

Q (Cohen): “So that’s why you signed the petition?”

A (Muncy): “Yes.”

Q from Cohen to Michael Adams, circulator: “Has the legislature dealt with this?”

A (Adams): “I don’t think so. I don’t think they think this is a very important bill.”

Part 2: Read & Listen by clicking here.

Rachel Sheline, petition sighner:

Q (Cohen): “Did this petition circulator tell you that the legislature already passed a law to limit strip clubs?”

A (Sheline): “No.”

Q (Cohen): “Did she tell you the people who are paying her actually want to not have limits on strip clubs?”

A (Sheline): “No.”

Q (Cohen): “Does she feel that she’s been misled?”

A (Sheline): “Probably.”