Local community files ballot initiative to ban public drag performances

Nearly 800 people in an area community signed a petition to get a measure restricting drag performances across the state on the November ballot.

But the petition given to Logan County Board of Elections was not the same petition people said they signed.

During News Center 7 at 6 p.m., Taylor Robertson got a hold of the hearing documents and shared what’s next for the measure.

Ohio law states a copy of any proposed ballot petition must be filed with the city auditor before collecting signatures, but that allegedly didn’t happen.

People in Bellefontaine claim they signed a petition that did not say anything about changing an already existing ordinance.

“You can’t just do that, you can’t swap out petitions,” Tim Steinhelfer a lawyer representing the six electoral protestors said.

The committee representing the petition filed 27 petitions to the county board of elections that were never actually signed by the voters, according to the hearing documents sent to News Center 7.

“We had a hearing actually last Thursday before the board of elections that lasted two and a half hours, both sides presented evidence. Their side actually admitted to the alleged fraud,” Steinhelfer said.

>> RELATED: Ohio Republicans introduce bill aiming to restrict drag performances

The petitions that were submitted to the board of elections contain additional language making the proposal a zoning ordinance regulating adult entertainment, which is not the same petition nearly 800 people signed.

The ones that were signed allegedly did not contain any language about amending an existing ordinance or making it a part of the city’s zoning code on adult entertainment.

“That makes a huge difference in law,” Steinhelfer said.

People in the community shared whether or not they wanted to see the anti-drag performance measure on the November ballot.

“I honestly don’t care,” Duane Tarleton said.

Guy Porter has lived in Bellefontaine for 62 years and feels differently.

“No I don’t want any,” Porter said.

The board of elections hearing on the electoral protest is on Sept. 7.

“So now the matter is before the Secretary of State Frank LaRose to cast the tie-breaking vote,” Steinhelfer said.

News Center 7 did reach out to the attorney representing the people who want the anti-drag measure on the ballot and he said he had only been involved in this for two days and would not have much more to add.

The law states that LaRose must make this decision without any procedure or delay, so they are waiting for that decision to come soon.

Once News Center 7 learns what LaRose has decided we will update this story.