Issue 1 does not “protect our constitution;” it does the opposite.
by Jennifer Ginder
I voted no last week on Issue 1 because it would end simple majority rule, making my vote matter less.
The language on the actual ballot is confusing, so it’s important to know the facts. Issue 1 would make it harder for citizen groups to change the Ohio Constitution by raising the percentage of people who have to vote “yes” to future proposed amendments from 50% +1 (majority) to 60% (super majority). It would also require that petition signatures be obtained from all of Ohio’s 88 counties rather than the current 44. This means a single county without enough signatures could kill an entire initiative. Issue 1 also eliminates the 10-day “cure” period, during which amendment campaigns can collect additional signatures if needed due to invalid signatures being tossed out.
The “Vote Yes” campaign rhetoric is misleading and designed to divide and create fear. While proponents initially insisted Issue 1 was only about protecting the integrity of the constitution, they now say the quiet part out loud: they want to stop the popular reproductive rights amendment from passing.
So, Issue 1 is designed to protect the Ohio Constitution from the will of Ohio voters.
● Issue 1 does not “protect our constitution;” it does the opposite. The campaign itself is funded by an Illinois billionaire and supported by a handful of powerful interest groups. Issue 1’s onerous requirements would make it nearly impossible for citizen groups to get an amendment on the ballot and passed. This would invite more – not less – influence by wealthy, out-of-state interests because they will be the only forces that can afford to participate in the process. The current citizen-led amendment process is ambitious and comprehensive.
● Rather than wait for the general election in November, where we typically vote on important, statewide questions, we are having a special election on August 8 for this proposal only. Lawmakers voted for this even though it will cost taxpayers $20 million, and even though they passed a law last December prohibiting special elections in August.
● Some say the constitution has been amended too many times already. But most of those changes were initiated by the legislature, not citizen groups. Over the last 111 years, only 19 of 71 citizen-initiated amendments have been adopted.
● Opposition to Issue 1 is widespread and bipartisan. It includes all of Ohio’s living former governors and five attorneys general, mayors and local leaders, as well as more than 200 hundred organizations.
Issue 1 is not about reproductive rights or any other, single issue. It’s about control, and would effectively eliminate citizen-led amendments in Ohio, regardless of their objective. When legislators are not responsive on issues important to us – like school funding, responsible gun ownership, minimum wage, or gerrymandering – we will have no recourse if Issue 1 passes. No checks and balances. Please join me in voting no on Issue 1.