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Issues & Referenda

Adding an Issue to the Ballot

It is possible for the people of Montgomery County, or the cities within, to add issues to the ballot. These issues include tax levies, change of zoning, and school district funding to name a few. The Board of Elections has the materials to walk you through the process as a citizen or candidate.

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Local Options

The option on whether alcohol can be served in a community, and how they can serve it, is often put on ballots for the community to decide. We have the lists and resources needed for you to understand all the vocabulary and the petitioning process.

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Municipalities and Jurisdictions may now submit actual ballot language and supporting documentation electronically. For instructions, please call (937) 225-5669

NOTE: Filing deadlines and rules apply to electronic filings.

Issues & Referendums

Disclaimer: The following procedures may not be applicable to municipalities operating under a municipal charter which contains separate provisions for the exercise of municipal initiative and referendum powers. This section does not contain a complete list of rules and regulations concerning Initiatives and Referendum, so please seek legal counsel or check your municipal charter if you have a question.

There are two methods in which voters can place an issue on the ballot:

Initiative: Is the power of the voters to place a proposed municipal ordinance or other measure on the ballot for approval by the voters.

Referendum: Is the power to place an ordinance or other measure enacted by a city legislative authority on the ballot for approval by the voters.

Key points to remember when obtaining signatures for Initiatives or Referendums:

  • Initiative or referendum petitions seeking to place ordinances or other measures on the ballot must contain the signatures of at least 10 percent of the number of voters who voted for governor within the municipality or township at the last general election at which the governor was elected (R.C. 504.14, 511.25, 731.28, 731.29). In the case of petitions involving building codes, the required percentage of voters is eight percent (R.C. 505.75).
  • Each signature must be in ink.
  • Each petition must contain the date of signing and the address of the signer, including his/her street and number.
  • Each signer of any initiative or referendum petition must be a registered voter in the municipality or township in which the ordinance or measure is to be placed on the ballot.
  • Each petition or part petition must contain a statement of the circulator that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, each of the signers is a resident of the municipality or township and each signature is that of the person whose signature it purports to be.

Key points to remember pertaining to the petition text for the Initiative or Referendums:

  • Initiative petitions or part-petitions must contain the title and a full and complete text of the ordinance or other measure to be placed on the ballot.
  • Referendum petitions or part-petitions must contain the number and a full and correct copy of the title of the ordinance or other measure to be referred.
  • Each petition or part-petition must contain the following warning printed in red:

“Notice: Whoever knowingly signs this petition more than once, signs a name other than his own, or signs when not a legal voter is liable to prosecution.”


  • Tax Levies
  • Permissive Sales/Excise Tax Levies
  • Income Tax for Municipalities and School Districts
  • Bond Issues
  • Municipal Charters
  • Municipal and Township Initiative Referendum
  • Formation of Municipal Corporations
  • Municipal Zoning
  • County and Township Zoning
  • Annexation, Detachment and Merger

If you have any questions regarding any of the information contained on this page E-MAIL or call the Initiative and Referendum Department at (937) 225-5669

Local Options

Local Option Elections – In General

Local option elections allow registered voters to vote on the question of whether alcohol sales and consumption shall be allowed within a precinct. Local option elections can specify certain types of alcohol that may be made available within that precinct and whether the alcohol may be consumed off-premises only or both on- and off-premises. [R.C. 4301.32]

Definitions of Types of Alcohol

Ohio liquor control law divides alcoholic beverages into various classes according to their alcohol content. A local option election will affect only the sale of those classes of beverages that are specifically designated on the petition and in the ballot language. The Ohio Revised Code [R.C. 4301.01] define these classes of alcoholic beverages as:


Refers to all brewed or fermented malt products containing at least of 1 percent of alcohol by volume, but not more than 6 percent of alcohol by weight.

“Intoxicating Liquor”

Refers to a broad classification including all liquids and compounds, other than beer, containing at least of 1 percent of alcohol by volume.

“Mixed Beverages”

Refers to premixed, bottled products obtained by combining whiskey, neutral spirits, brandy, gin, or other distilled spirits with water, plant juices or other flavorings. The completed product must contain not less than of 1 percent and not more than 21 percent of alcohol by volume.

“Spirituous Liquors”

Refers to all intoxicating liquors containing more than 21 percent of alcohol by volume.


Refers to all liquids made from the fermented juices of grapes, fruits or other agricultural products and containing not less than of 1 percent and not more than 21 percent of alcohol by volume.

The Petition Process
The requirements to circulate a local option petition vary depending upon the type of alcohol sale and consumption the petitioner wishes to place on the ballot. The PETITIONER must decide on the type(s) of alcohol sale(s) he or she wishes to place on the ballot and the area that will be affected by the election. The petitioner must then follow the process required for the particular petition.

You may find more information on local options on-line by visiting the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control website.

If you have any questions regarding any of the information contained on this page

E-MAIL or call (937) 225-5669.