by Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal
Originally published: June 21, 2023
Deadlines are coming up quick for Ohio voters participating in the Aug. 8 special election over State Issue 1, which seeks to make it harder for voters to amend the Ohio Constitution by raising the threshold from 50% to 60%, and increases the number of counties ballot signatures for citizen initiatives must be collected, from 44 to 88.
Here are some important dates to keep in mind:
July 10: Voter registration deadline for the Aug. 8 primary
July 11: First day of early in-person voting
July 15: Certification for independent candidates
Aug. 1: Absentee ballot applications must be turned in
Aug. 8: Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and absentee ballots are due by close of polls.
If State Issue 1 passes, its provisions making it harder for voters to bring forward and pass proposed amendments would impact future ballot initiatives, including some that are already in the works, such as the abortion ballot measure, set to go before voters in November, along with initiatives to change marijuana regulation and minimum wage.
Republicans who are in support of Issue 1, including Ohio’s elections chief Secretary of State Frank LaRose, have pointed to the abortion proposal as a main reason they’d like to see the voter threshold amendment pass in August, as it would cause significant challenges for the amendment, for which signature gathering has been well under way.
Critics of Issue 1 have said the measure would roll back more that 112 years of Ohio majority voter powers and give even more power to an already gerrymandered GOP supermajority legislature.
Issue 1 had to get through a few challenges of its own to get to the ballot, with the Ohio Supreme Court giving it the official go ahead just last week, after a lawsuit sought the court’s intervention. This was because Ohio lawmakers passed a law in December outlawing August elections before brining back this August election in defiance of the new law.
The Ohio Supreme Court in a split decision sided with Republican lawmakers, after the court asked that the Ohio Ballot Board rewrite some of the language in the ballot measure, including the title and explanations of the term “electors.”
The ballot board, led by LaRose, did just that on June 14, though the changes were approved on partisan lines.
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Featured image via Franklin County Board of Elections (Facebook)