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ResponsibleOhio Under Investigation for Fraud

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ResponsibleOhio Under Investigation for Fraud

ResponsibleOhio, the organization working to pass a controversial initiative aimed at legalizing recreational marijuana in the November election, has been hit with yet another major obstacle that could potentially foil their efforts altogether in 2015.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced on Wednesday the appointment of a special investigator that has been hired to look into the group’s activities in order to determine if their signature gathering campaign was conducted under fraudulent terms. In a press release, Husted wrote that ResponsibleOhio has shown “discrepancies between the hard-copy petitions and what should have been identical electronic copies of those petitions,” potential evidence, he suggests, that the group may have been involved in underhanded election tactics.

Of course, this is a serious accusation. If found guilty of fraud, ResponsibleOhio organizers could be charged with a fifth-degree felony.

In an effort to get to the bottom of this mess, the Secretary of State’s office plans to subpoena The Strategy Network, the signature collecting company ResponsibleOhio executive director Ian James hired to manage this phase of the initiative. The overall goal of the investigation is to review the company’s records in order to determine if the discrepancies present a definitive case of fraud.

“As with every possible case of election fraud, it is my responsibility to investigate and hold accountable anyone who may have cheapened the voice of all Ohioans by cheating the system,” said Husted. “I have long stated that voter fraud is rare, but it happens; and when it does, we will call out the guilty parties and hold them accountable.”

However, ResponsibleOhio claims the inconsistencies now under Husted’s microscope are ones that they brought to his attention. Larry James, legal counsel for the organization, said that the state is now “trying to punish us for pointing them out publicly,” rather than “working with us and addressing the problems within his office and at the County Board of Elections.”

“He even deputized a former prosecutor to investigate us,” said James, “then bragged about his past success gaining convictions — all in a further attempt to frighten, harass and silence us.”

Husted first went after ResponsibleOhio weeks ago after announcing that the organization had come up 30,000 signatures short of earning a spot on the ballot. Although the group submitted around 695,000 signatures, Husted maintained that only 276,000 of those could be certified. To be fair, ResponsibleOhio was given another 10 days to collect the missing signatures – a timeline that ends Thursday at midnight.

Although the odds seem stacked against ResponsibleOhio, organizers told reporters on Thursday evening that they were prepared to submit “tens of thousands” of signatures before the midnight deadline and that they have “zero doubt” that they will get enough signatures certified to “absolutely, positively be on the November ballot.”

Do you think cannabis legalization will make it on the ballot in Ohio? Tell us in the comments.



  1. G.T.

    August 2, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    This was Husted’s reaction to RO filing suit against his office for illegally tossing votes. Fear and intimidation is all they have left to keep Ohioans from having the right to vote. Husted is a prohibitionist and shill for big pharma.

    • Kelly

      August 3, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      ResponsibleOhio is anything but. As pro-legalization as I am, I would rather Ohio keep marijuana illegal here than vote for the marijuana monopolizing monsters that are RO.

      • David Manevich

        March 15, 2018 at 4:19 pm

        Uou guys all voted no for Responsable ohio and NOW look at the BS medical Marijuana program Kasich stuck us with great job people


  2. dan frybarger

    August 2, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Responsible Ohio is a scam to capture a billion dollar industry before it is even established.
    They will control the rights to the entire state including research if this passes.
    Lame recreational, questionable medical rights and no hemp.
    If it works here they will try it in your state next.
    They do not deserve to be on the Ohio ballot.
    Vote no to RO Ohio has better options. is a way better plan check it out.

  3. J.Lang

    August 1, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Check Husted’s record on attempting to deny the people of Ohio the right to vote!

    • Mad scientist

      August 1, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      It’s not him trying to deny the voter. If you knew anything about this initiative you would know it’s horrible. Which is precisely why the Ohio state senate passed an anti monopoly bill to be voted on in November specifically to block these people. This is put together by the same guy that put together the monopoly for the casinos in Ohio…. Which turned out to be not so good for Ohio. They want it to be an open market if it is legalized. That creates more jobs, better product and competitive pricing.

  4. sean smith

    August 1, 2015 at 7:29 am

    The pres. Should maje weed legal period

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