by Morgan Trau, Ohio Capital Journal
May 22, 2023
Despite continuous protests, the Ohio Ballot Board has approved the language for State Issue 1, which will ask voters if the state constitution should be harder to amend.
State Issue 1 was just approved Thursday, but it has been causing controversy for months now.
State lawmakers in the House and Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 2 on May 10. It would place a measure on a special election ballot in August to require a 60% supermajority of Ohio voters to amend the state’s constitution, a move some lawmakers hope will make it less likely that voters will make abortion legal in November.
Issue 1 asks voters if Ohio should “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.”
Also included on the ballot will be this explanation of Issue 1:
Beth Vanderkooi with the anti-abortion group Right to Life is supportive of making it harder to amend the Ohio constitution ahead of a possible vote to legalize abortion this November.
“I see this as a win for Ohioans who will have an opportunity for Ohioans to weigh in on what it will take to amend our constitution,” Vanderkooi told News 5 the day the amendment proposal passed.
Democrats and nonpartisan organizations say the language is purposely misleading by not including the current standards for passing constitutional amendments, which is a simple majority of 50% +1. Voters should also know signature requirements will expand from 44 to all 88 counties, Jen Miller with the League of Women Voters of Ohio said.
“My biggest concern is that Ohioans will look at this ballot language, will not understand that if they vote yes, they’re actually voting to take their own personal power and right away as an Ohio voter,” Miller said.
Republicans have admitted this effort is largely to stop abortion from becoming legal; Miller says it does so much more, including diminishing a voter’s choice on issues like redistricting, worker laws and bonds — like funding for bridges.
“They are taking away our rights as voters or they’re attempting to do so during an election that many Ohioans won’t even know is happening,” Miller added.
Her team is the latest to sign onto the lawsuit to prevent Issue 1 from getting on the ballot since law scholars say the effort was done illegally.
But Vanderkooi says the election is democratic since it is just giving the choice to voters in August.
“It is never a wrong time to do the right thing,” Vanderkooi said.
This article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.
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