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Lake Erie Bill of Rights passes in Toledo special election

Toledoans for Safe Water are celebrating the passage of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. It passed with 61.37 percent of the vote Tuesday.

TOLEDO (WTOL) - Toledoans for Safe Water is celebrating the passage of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. It passed with 61.37 percent of the vote Tuesday.

It was a two and a half year process to get the initiative put on the ballot.

"It was definitely a long, hard struggle to get to this day, but all the hard work and countless volunteer hours by everyone in our local community group has paid off,” said Crystal Jankowski, a Toledoans for Safe Water organizer. “We started this more than two years ago and had to overcome election board decisions and protests in court just to get on the ballot.”

From seeing their ballot initiative turned down, to a court case, to casting ballots, excitement is the only word to describe their results party.

The group feels they have educated many people about clean water issues.

"We’ve been using the same laws for decades to try and protect Lake Erie. They’re clearly not working,” said Toledoans for Safe Water activist Markie Miller. “Beginning today, with this historic vote, the people of Toledo and our allies are ushering in a new era of environmental rights by securing the rights of the Great Lake Erie.”

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights was written to give people more avenues to take legal action if a person or business causes harm to the ecosystem.

“We’ve started conversations all over the world and people are watching us and I think we’ve really inspired other people and people in the community to take action and change their perspective a little bit,” Toledoans for Safe Water Organizer Markie Miller said.

Miller said she’s hopeful her group will pave the way for other communities to try and put something similar on their ballot.

The “Keep the Jail Downtown” initiative also passed on Tuesday with 79.89 percent of the vote. This election, 8.9 percent of registered voters showed up at the polls.

Read more about “Keep the Jail Downtown” here.