12/4/2019East Liverpool, Ohio Residents Vote Down Speed Cameras
Ohio Judge upholds ballot initiative in which 72 percent of East Liverpool voters rejected the use of speed and red light cameras.
Nearly three out of four voters in East Liverpool, Ohio, voted to shut down the city's speed camera and red light camera program last month. The results of the November 5 vote had been kept secret under the orders of Columbiana County Common Pleas Judge Scott A. Washam. The secrecy went away Monday as the judge issued a ruling siding with the public's right to determine the fate of the cameras at the ballot box.
The court rejected the municipality's attempt to invalidate the public vote on technical grounds. City leaders had insisted the ballot measure repealed an ordinance and should have been considered a much more limited "referendum" that must be filed within thirty days of an ordinance taking effect, rather than an "initiative" that has no time limit.
"As a matter of law, I find the initiative petition of the East Liverpool Citizens is a valid initiative petition under Ohio law," Judge Washam wrote in his final ruling. "It is not an untimely filed referendum... The Board of Elections and the East Liverpool Citizens are each entitled to and hereby are granted summary judgment on the complaint of East Liverpool as a matter of law."
Seventy-two percent of voters supported the adoption of an ordinance that prohibits the city council from using automated ticketing machines. The measure can take effect once it is formally certified and adopted.
"According to the Ohio Supreme Court, an initiative that has the effect of a referendum on the ordinance it seeks to repeal is entirely permissible," Judge Washam explained.
East Liverpool joins Ohioans in Ashtabula, Cleveland, Chillicothe, Heath, Garfield Heights, Maple Heights, South Euclid and Steubenville in rejecting the use of traffic cameras. To date, photo enforcement has been defeated in 39 of 43 election contests nationwide (view complete list).
A copy of Monday's final ruling is available in a 300k PDF file at the source link below.