UPDATE: Athens Fracking Vote Pushed to November

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UPDATE 2/18/2014 5:00 PM

One local anti-fracking group celebrates a big victory toward their cause.

Tuesday morning, the Athens County Board of Elections certified a petition from the "Bill of Rights Committee".

"BORC" is opposed to the construction of oil and injection wells within city limits.

The group collected nearly 900 signatures supporting their initiative, and then presented the petition to the city auditor last month.

The plan was to get the proposal before city voters in May.

But a legal issue came to light and the board pushed it to the November ballot.

"By law, by statute, you cannot run an initiative of this type in a primary," says Debbie Quivey, Director of the Athens County Board of Elections. "Our board followed the law and they certified it to go onto our general election."

Despite the delay, the group is optimistic.

They say a big interest in November's ballot will bring more folks to the polls, putting their ordinance in front of more voters.

UPDATE 1/22/2014 5:40 PM

Following-up on a story we brought you last week from Athens, where one group hopes to put a fracking ban proposal before city voters in May.

Board of Elections employees say Dick McGinn and his "Bill of Rights Committee" have collected enough valid signatures on their petition.

"BORC" is opposed to the construction of oil and injection wells within city limits.

The board gave the anti-fracking proposal back to the city auditor.

The auditor's office will keep the measure on file leading up to a big vote next month.

"It's up to the board of elections to put it on the ballot," says city auditor Kathy Hecht. "So when they vote in February to certify petitions for elected officials, they will vote to certify these petitions also."

That vote will happen on Tuesday, the 18th, during a public meeting.

Should the vote by split between the four board members, Secretary of State Jon Husted will have the final decision.

The wording of the measure must also be approved by Secretary Husted, before it winds up on the May ballot.

A group of people in Athens are optimistic about putting a fracking ban proposal before city voters this May.

Friday at Athens City Hall, Dick McGinn from the Bill of Rights Committee (BORC) presented a petition of 871 signatures supporting an anti-fracking measure.

BORC is opposed to the construction of oil and injection wells within city limits.

The board of elections will now check the validity of the petition.

They'll make sure the people who gave those signatures do in fact live in Athens.

The board rejected a similar plan last summer.

This time around, McGinn thinks his group will be successful.

"What we need to do is be slowly but surely weening ourselves, taking ourselves away from petroleum and moving towards renewable energy which is a new source of job," he says.

The board of elections is in Columbus this week.

They say they'll get back to the measure next Tuesday.

At this point they're just looking at signatures.

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