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Citizens for Community Standards Gets The Ixnay; Ohio Strip Club Petition Drive Dead

COLUMBUS – An effort to repeal a new law restricting the operations of strip clubs and other adult businesses failed yesterday to convince a judge to give it more time to file signatures and qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot.

Franklin County Judge Timothy S. Horton denied a request for a temporary restraining order preventing Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner from enforcing tomorrow’s deadline for the filing of signatures.

The judge, however, will hold a hearing on a possible preliminary injunction tomorrow morning.

Ms. Brunner had indicated the deadline was tomorrow, 10 business days after her office mailed a letter informing the group that its petitions were deficient.

The organization, largely financed by the strip clubs and the adult film industry, argued that the 10-day clock should have started when the letter was received two days later, a move that would have bought it valuable additional time.

The organization [Citizens for Community Standards] hopes to ask voters to undo a new law passed last spring that limits the hours of operation of strip clubs, adult book and video stores, X-rated theaters, and other “sexually oriented businesses” and increases the criminal penalties when nude and seminude performers come into direct contact with club patrons.

After two of every three signatures of would-be registered voters were deemed invalid by county boards of elections, Ms. Brunner informed the group it was well short of the number of signatures needed to qualify.

The organization faces an uphill battle to file enough signatures to fill the void, because the invalidation rate remains high for signatures gathered by paid petition circulators.

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