Ohio voters will decide on State Issue 1 at a special election on Aug. 8.
The ballot language for the proposed State Constitutional Amendment, according to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, is as follows:
Proposed Constitutional Amendment
ELEVATING THE STANDARDS TO QUALIFY FOR AN INITIATED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND TO PASS A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Proposed by Joint Resolution of the General Assembly
To amend Sections 1b, 1e, and 1g of Article II and Sections 1 and 3 of Article XVI of the Constitution of the State of Ohio. A majority yes vote is necessary for the amendment to pass.
The proposed amendment would:
• Require that any proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State of Ohio receive the approval of at least 60 percent of eligible voters voting on the proposed amendment.
• Require that any initiative petition filed on or after January 1, 2024 with the Secretary of State proposing to amend the Constitution of the State of Ohio be signed by at least five percent of the electors of each county based on the total vote in the county for governor in the last preceding election.
• Specify that additional signatures may not be added to an initiative petition proposing to amend the Constitution of the State of Ohio that is filed with the Secretary of State on or after January 1, 2024 proposing to amend the Constitution of the State of Ohio.
If passed, the amendment will be effective immediately.
SHALL THE AMENDMENT BE APPROVED?
ARGUMENT FOR ISSUE 1
“Vote YES on Issue 1. Empower the People, Protect the Constitution.
A YES vote on Issue 1 protects our Constitution from deep-pocketed, out-of-state interests.
By passing Issue 1, the People will ensure constitutional changes are widely accepted and declare that Ohio’s Constitution is not for sale.
Currently, special interests target Ohio, seeking to inject their own personal views and objectives into our state’s most sacred document. Why? Because Ohio is one of the few states that allow these interests to directly enshrine their social preferences and corporate motives into the Constitution at the same threshold as everyday laws. Common sense tells us that this should not be the case.
Instead, our constitutional rights should be broadly supported and shielded from well-financed special interests.
Voting YES on Issue 1 strengthens our Constitution by:
•Elevating the standard. By raising the threshold for constitutional amendments to 60%, the People will ensure amendments have widespread support and tell special interests that our Constitution is not up for grabs. This will protect Ohio’s Constitution similar to the way the U.S. Constitution has been protected since our country’s founding.
•Empowering people across Ohio. By requiring signatures from voters in every county, special interests will no longer be able to cherry pick where they gather signatures. Instead, starting January 1, 2024, a diverse and representative population of Ohioans will determine whether proposed amendments appear on the ballot.
•Eliminating second bites at the apple. By restricting do-overs on signature submissions, starting January 1, 2024, special interests will have one chance to play by the rules when gathering signatures to place proposed amendments on the ballot.
We, the People, must have our voices heard on August 8th. Empower yourself and your fellow Ohioans. Protect the Constitution.
Vote YES on Issue 1.”
Vote “YES” argument prepared by Representative Brian Stewart and Senator Rob McColley.
ARGUMENT AGAINST ISSUE 1
“Vote “NO” on Issue 1.
This amendment would destroy citizen-driven ballot initiatives as we know them, upending our right to make decisions that directly impact our lives. It takes away our freedom by undermining the sacred principle of ‘one person, one vote’ and destroys majority rule in Ohio.
Last year, Ohio politicians eliminated August special elections saying, “Interest groups often manipulatively put issues on the ballot in August because they know fewer Ohioans are paying attention.”
And yet here we are, voting in August on just one question: should Ohio permanently abolish the basic constitutional right of majority rule?
Special interests and corrupt politicians say yes.
They don’t like voters making decisions, so they’re trying to rewrite the rules to get what they want: even more power.
Here’s why we’re confident Ohio citizens will resoundingly vote NO:
•Issue 1 Ends Majority Rule: It means just 40% of voters can block any issue, putting 40% of voters in charge of decision-making for the majority.
•Issue 1 Shreds Our Constitution: It would permanently undo constitutional protections that have been in place for over 100 years to check politicians’ power at the ballot box.
•Issue 1 Takes Away Our Freedom: It would destroy citizen-driven ballot initiatives as we know them, guaranteeing that only wealthy special interests could advance changes to our constitution.
•Issue 1 Applies to All Issues: If this amendment passes, it will apply to every single amendment on any issue Ohioans will ever vote on – you name it, just 40% of voters will decide.
We all deserve to make decisions that impact our lives. We must protect our freedom to determine our future, not permanently change our constitution to give up our rights. Vote NO.”
Vote “NO” argument prepared by Senators Paula Hicks-Hudson and Vernon Sykes and Representatives Dontavius Jarrells, Bride Rose Sweeney, and Dani Isaacsohn.
EXPLANATION FOR ISSUE 1
“Issue 1 asks eligible Ohio voters to consider an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Ohio proposed by a two-thirds majority of the Ohio General Assembly. The amendment, if approved, would elevate the standards by which the Constitution of the State of Ohio may be amended.
Any newly proposed constitutional amendment placed on a statewide ballot must receive at least 60 percent of the vote to be approved. Any initiated petition proposing to amend the Constitution of the State of Ohio that is filed with the Secretary of State on or after January 1, 2024 must contain the signatures of at least five percent of the eligible voters residing in each county of the state. Finally, the amendment specifies that new signatures may not be added to an initiative petition proposing to amend the Constitution of the State of Ohio once it has been filed with the Secretary of State on or after January 1, 2024.”
Information provided by the Office of Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.