Columbus -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has rejected a petition submission from a group that wants to criminalize abortion, saying backers did not submit enough signatures for him to grant certification.
Elections officials confirmed 842 signatures, short of the 1,000 required.
"Because your submission did not contain the verified signatures of at least one thousand qualified electors, we must reject it," DeWine wrote to the petitioners. "Due to your failure to meet the signature threshold, I have not made any determination concerning the fairness and truthfulness of your proposed summary."
The rejection means supporters will have to restart the process and collect new signatures for consideration.
The amendment would "prohibit abortion of all unborn human beings, without exception" and classify the procedure as "aggravated murder."
The proposed amendment would not affect "genuine contraception that acts solely by preventing the creation of a new human being," "human 'eggs' or oocytes prior to the beginning of the life of a new human being" or reproductive technologies or procedures "that respect the right to life of newly creating human beings."
DeWine's certification is the first step in the process for groups that want to place amendments before voters. Backers would still have to gain approval from the state Ballot Board, then collect more than 300,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.