SALEM Official: State OK'd wording on ballot



The ballot language comes from the petition itself.
By D.A. WILKINSON
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- John Payne, director of the Columbiana County Board of Elections, says ballot language for two Salem issues was approved by the Ohio secretary of state's office.
The two initiative petitions would prevent the city from abolishing its fire department or joining a fire district without public votes. The petitions were circulated by past and present firefighters.
The city is in talks about forming a new fire district to save money.
Justin Palmer of Salem, who is coordinating the petition effort, is concerned that the ballot language doesn't reflect the public vote on the issues. He plans to ask the elections board to revise it.
Payne said he checked the language with the secretary of state's office, which oversees Ohio's elections.
The ballot concerning the end of the department will read: "Shall an ordinance prohibiting the municipal government of the city of Salem, Columbiana County, state of Ohio, from abolishing or eliminating the fire department, as presently constituted, as a department of the city of Salem be adopted?"
The ballot language on the issue of joining a fire district is similar.
Came from title
Payne pointed out the ballot language for the issues came from the title of the two proposed ordinances that were listed on each petition signed by voters.
The title on the dissolution issue reads, "An ordinance prohibiting the municipal government of the city of Salem, Columbiana County, state of Ohio, from abolishing or eliminating the fire department, as presently constituted, as a department of the city of Salem."
Payne said all he did was turn the title into a question.
The two issues will appear on the same page in the election booth for the ease of voters.
If voters have any questions on Election Day, Payne said the full text of the two proposed ordinances will be available at each Salem precinct.
wilkinson@vindy.com

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