A "no" vote on Ohio's controversial new collective bargaining law this November will be a vote to repeal the measure, a top board charged with approving ballot language has ruled.
Last month, opponents of the law, Senate Bill 5, succeed in gathering enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot asking state residents to do away with the measure.
But a critical question—how the item was to be worded on the ballot—had yet to be settled. On Wednesday, the state's ballot board decided, that if voters choose "no" on the ballot, they will be voting in favor of repealing the measure.
That was the preferred option of We Are Ohio, a group that is working to repeal the law. The group had argued that the "no" option would be clearer to voters, rather than asking them to vote "yes" in favor of doing away with the law.
The ballot board agreed. The newly approved ballot language will read:
Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 5 is a new law relative to government union contracts and other government employment contracts and policies.
A "YES" vote means you approve the law.
A "NO" vote means you reject the law.
Senate Bill 5, signed into law this spring by Republican Gov. John Kasich, limits the collective bargaining powers of teachers and other public employees. It drew major objections from teachers' unions and other labor groups. Kasich and other supporters of the law, such as the organization Building a Better Ohio, have argued that it will drive down the costs of government, save jobs, and improve the state's economy.
Kasich's spokesman, Rob Nichols, told me this week that the governor will fight in the coming months to get his message out about the law's benefits.
"He'll be very visible," Nichols said. "We'll talk about Senate Bill 5 wherever we go." So far, "one side has done all of the talking about this," he added. "Every day that the law doesn't go into effect is one that hurts local governments."