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Government/Politics

Minimum Wage Ballot Issue Group Sues Over Coronavirus Restrictions And Filing Deadline

A voter signs a petition for a signature gatherer working in Columbus last year.
Andy Chow
/
A voter signs a petition for a signature gatherer working in Columbus last year.

Backers of a planned fall ballot issue seeking to raise the minimum wage in Ohio to $13 by 2025 have filed a lawsuit, saying Gov. Mike DeWine’s coronavirus restrictions have halted their effort.  The group says it wants more time and lowered requirements.

The group has until July 1 to submit around 442,000 valid signatures.

It stopped gathering signatures around March 15, when DeWine closed bars and made restaurants carry out only. But the requirements are in the Ohio constitution.

James Hayes with Raise the Wage Ohio said the closing of Ohio's polling places just hours before the primary both hurt their effort, but also showed that unusual decisions can be made. And he said the rights of those who want to vote on this issue need to be protected. And he said

“Given the unprecedented nature of the crisis we’re facing right now, we believe that it’s an argument that can be made," Hayes said.

The group wants the deadline extended to August 21, and the number of needed signatures cut nearly in half, to around 265,000. 

The group said in its filing that it had nearly 74,000 signatures when it had to stop collecting them.

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