Local Activists Kick Off SB 5 Petition Drive
Ohio University students kicked off a petition drive Saturday to place the repeal of Senate Bill 5 (SB 5) on the ballot.
The petition campaign, which is taking place in nine different locations in Ohio, is being run by volunteers from OU College Democrats and Organizing for America, but coordinated statewide by We Are Ohio, a coalition of unions and Democratic allies.
Athens County collected over 300 signatures on Saturday, singlehandedly collecting 15 percent of the state’s total signatures.
Statewide, the campaign needs 231,149 signatures from at least 44 of the counties with 3 percent of the voter turnout in the last election.
OFA members and OU Democrats set up a petition location at the Athens Farmer’s Market while others set up outside of Morton Hall.
Debi Segal, a member of OU College Democrats, said the Farmer’s Market location proved successful.
“It was really effective to have a location at the Farmer’s Market. We got 200 signatures just there,” she said.
After only one week, Athens has almost the total number of signatures they need.
Nick Tuell, a member of Organizing for America, said that though Athens needs 526 signatures, they have set their goal much higher because of incidence of ineligibility.
“There are a lot of things that can make a signer ineligible,” Tuell said. “They could sign twice, put the wrong address, or not be registered to vote in that county.”
Patrick Duffy, an intern with Organizing for America, said that voter registration should not pose a problem.
“We could register them as Athens voters and their signature would still count. Before the petitions are actually counted, they’ll already be switched over to Athens,” Duffy said.
Unlike most petitions, this campaign has not yet gone door-to-door at all. In many cases, campaigners have to approach potential signers.
“Usually you have to convince people or give them more information. But we got way past what we were expecting. We didn’t have to convince anyone,” Tuell said.
Tuell also said that the number of people coming to the campaign, rather than vice versa, was “staggering,” which led to a successful kickoff.
Segal added, “A lot of students kind of got a wakeup call when this happened and want to get involved.”
The campaign will be setting up other locations outside of OU buildings and at the Athens Farmer’s Market this week and next week to collect more signatures.
They will also be receiving more petitions to be circulated, as they have already filled 15 with signatures.
“We did a great job this weekend,” Duffy said. “We’re off to a really great start.”