Vote NO on Issue 1


To the editor:

When our elected representatives in Columbus fail to govern in our best interests, we rely on direct democracy to challenge them, using referendums to block unjust laws and citizen initiatives to propose new laws and state constitutional amendments.

The August 8 special election on Issue 1 threatens our freedom and right to engage in direct democracy.

Initiated by the General Assembly, Issue 1 is a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that will make it harder for Ohioans to propose and pass our own constitutional amendments. If passed, Issue 1 will upend 100+ years of constitutionally accepted procedures and standards.

Citizen initiatives are already difficult to get on a statewide ballot. Petitioners must collect valid signatures from 44 counties. If they come up short, they have a 10-day grace period to make up the difference. Issue 1 requires valid signatures from all 88 counties and provides no grace period. An insufficient number of valid signatures from a single county would doom the entire effort. By targeting just one county, opponents could stop a citizen initiative in its tracks.

Issue 1 abandons the principle of majority rule. It changes the passing rate for any proposed amendment from 50% + 1 to 60%. Passing amendments—whether initiated by citizens or the General Assembly—is already difficult. Since 1913, 227 proposed amendments have made it to the ballot. Only 71 have been citizen initiatives; of these, only 19 have passed.

We shouldn’t even be deciding this issue in August when voter turnout is low. In December, the General Assembly had eliminated virtually all August special elections. Then in the spring, the legislature turned around and added another exception, this one for constitutional amendments that they propose.

It’s disingenuous of Issue 1 supporters to say the proposed amendment’s purpose is to protect Ohio’s constitution from deep-pocketed, outside special interests. The purpose of Issue 1 and an August special election is to thwart the will of Ohio citizens. Specifically, it’s an attempt by the General Assembly, beholden to its own special interest groups, to prevent passage of a citizen initiative on women’s reproductive rights, which is expected to be on the November ballot.

Regardless of your position on abortion, remember this: Issue 1 has ramifications beyond the question of abortion. If passed, it will erode our power and authority as Ohio citizens to hold our elected representatives accountable to us.

Vote NO on Issue 1.

Deb Hogshead


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