ICYMI: Cleveland.com Editorial: Lawmakers should be making it less onerous for citizens to amend the Ohio Constitution, not harder
December 1, 2022
Columbus, OH — In case you missed it, the Cleveland.com editorial board called on the state legislature to reject Republicans’ attempts to make it harder for Ohioans to pass a Constitutional amendment. The editorial board called on Republicans in the state legislature to reverse plans that would make it harder for Ohioans to have their voices heard, adding that killing the anti-voter measure is “what democracy requires.”
“In fact, stripping away Stewart’s and LaRose’s claims about HJR 6, it’s obvious that the “special interests” that HJR 6 targets are Ohio’s voters. That’s why the legislature should reject this naked attack on democracy in a state whose constitution proclaims that “all political power is inherent in the people” — not in the Statehouse,” wrote the Cleveland.com editorial board.
Read more from Cleveland.com here and below:
- The General Assembly’s lame-duck session is rapidly advancing a joint resolution that will ask voters to make it harder to change the Ohio Constitution. But the legislature should be making it easier for voters to seek this remedy, not more difficult. That is what democracy requires.
- The current procedure, written 110 years ago, in 1912, is this: Either the legislature or voters by petition may propose placing a constitutional amendment on Ohio’s statewide ballot.
- Petitioners must gather the signatures of Ohio voters equal to 10% of the total vote cast in the most recent election for governor. Moreover, those signatures must be obtained in at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and within each of the 44 counties, petitioners must gather signatures equal to at least 5% of the gubernatorial vote cast in that county. And strict signature-gathering rules apply.
- So why make it tougher to amend the state constitution when special-interest amendments are already barred? Two possible answers are suggested by recent events:
- One, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, is that Ohioans who support women’s right to choose abortion are mobilizing to write a ballot issue to reinstate reproductive choice in Ohio. Raising a constitutional amendment’s winning margin to 60% would make it harder for an abortion-rights ballot issue to win Ohio voters’ approval.
- Likewise, voters may petition for a constitutional amendment seeking to amend prior constitutional reforms in how Ohio draws legislative and congressional districts to make partisan gerrymandering harder.
- In fact, stripping away Stewart’s and LaRose’s claims about HJR 6, it’s obvious that the “special interests” that HJR 6 targets are Ohio’s voters.
- That’s why the legislature should reject this naked attack on democracy in a state whose constitution proclaims that “all political power is inherent in the people” — not in the Statehouse.