Debate ongoing between NAACP and Hamilton County Board of Elections

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - 7,400 valid signatures of Hamilton County voters are needed in order for the Cincinnati NAACP to get an issue on the November 8 ballot.  The group opposes the streetcar project, and wants voters to have a chance to tell city leaders that they do or do not support the project.

Chris Smitherman, president of the local NAACP, has been spearheading the effort, organizing the collection of signatures that must be completed by August 10 in order to appear on the ballot.

However, Smitherman claims the Board of Elections is dragging its feet in getting the NAACP signatures counted and validated, and returned to them before the deadline, a process known as pre-checking. It allows campaigns and organizations assess if they have enough valid signatures or if they need to go collect more before the deadline to make it on the ballot.

Smitherman told FOX19 that the Board was able to get more than 80,000 signatures on the SB5 issue counted in less time than it is taking to get around 4,000 NAACP signatures counted on the streetcar issue.  He said he believes those who are politically supportive of the streetcar are influencing the speed of the process.

Caleb Faux with the Board of Elections, told FOX19 that he would not allow personal politics to keep the Board from doing its job, and remaining a neutral party.

Smitherman believes his organization has the signatures necessary to make it onto the ballot.

The Board of Elections has said it will be able to provide the pre-checked signatures to the NAACP by late next week.

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