Ohio Supreme Court Orders Ballot Measure Rewrite

June 13, 2023 by Dan McCue
Ohio Supreme Court Orders Ballot Measure Rewrite

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court on Monday ordered Secretary of State Frank LaRose and the Ohio Ballot Board to rewrite sections of a ballot measure that would make it harder for voters to amend the state constitution.

The decision came in response to a complaint filed last month by a group of Ohio voters and an organization called One Person One Vote, that challenged the ballot language.

Senate Joint Resolution 2, as the measure is known, proposes a change to the Ohio Constitution that would increase the threshold to pass constitutional amendments from 50% to 60%.

The proposal would also impose new rules for petitions for citizen-led amendments, including eliminating a 10-day period during which citizens could file supplemental signatures if the state determined that there was a deficiency after the petition was submitted. 

In addition, the amendment would double the number of counties from which signatures would have to be collected.

According to the petitioners, the state’s Republican lawmakers compounded the situation by proposing amendment language that “misleadingly” favors its adoption.

They also contend that the ballot’s title, “Elevating the standards to qualify for and to pass any constitutional amendment,” is just plain inaccurate.

In its order, the Ohio Supreme Court held “Secretary LaRose’s use of the word ‘any’ in the title here is likely to mislead voters. 

“The title could give voters the false impression that the proposed amendment would make it more difficult to qualify all proposed constitutional amendments for the ballot, regardless of how they are presented,” the court said. 

But in a concurring opinion in which she dissented in part, Justice Jennifer Brunner argued that statement did not go far enough.

“To comply with the Ohio Constitution, the ballot language must more clearly explain these differences so that voters are aware of the inequalities that would be created between the ability of voters to put a proposed amendment on the ballot through the initiative process and the ability of the General Assembly to autonomously do so,” she wrote. 

The petitioners also claimed that the use of the word “elevating” in the title was not “impartial and will create prejudice in favor of the amendment,” but that assertion was rejected by a majority of the justices who chose to leave the word “elevating” in the ballot title. 

When it came to the ballot language, the Ohio Supreme Court sided with the petitioners, agreeing that the “ballot language does not accurately describe the number of elector signatures required from each county” and currently “overstates the number of signatures that would be needed to qualify an initiative petition for the ballot.” 

“Because not all electors vote in a gubernatorial election, the ballot language here overstates the number of signatures that would be needed to qualify an initiative petition for the ballot,” the court said.

Further, “The ballot board concedes that this ballot language does not accurately describe the number of elector signatures required from each county. 

“In the absence of any dispute about the inaccuracy of this language, we grant a writ of mandamus ordering the ballot board to adopt lawful ballot language that accurately characterizes and explains the definition of ‘electors’ underlying the petition-signature requirements in the proposed amendment, including how many signatures would be required to qualify an initiative petition for the ballot,” the justices said.

One Person One Vote also has a second complaint before the Ohio Supreme Court, challenging LaRose’s decision to hold a special election on the ballot proposal on Aug. 8.

According to the group, it is a violation of state law to hold a statewide election in Ohio during August. 

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

A+
a-
  • ballot measure
  • Frank LaRose
  • Ohio Supreme Court
  • One Person One Vote
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    In The States

    Supreme Court Finds No Bias Against Black Voters in a South Carolina Congressional District

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court 's conservative majority on Thursday preserved a Republican-held South Carolina congressional district, rejecting a lower-court ruling... Read More

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court 's conservative majority on Thursday preserved a Republican-held South Carolina congressional district, rejecting a lower-court ruling that said the district discriminated against Black voters. In dissent, liberal justices warned that the court was insulating states from claims of unconstitutional racial gerrymandering. In... Read More

    Political Consultant Behind Fake Biden Robocalls Faces $6M Fine and Criminal Charges

    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A political consultant who sent artificial intelligence-generated robocalls mimicking President Joe Biden's voice to voters ahead of New... Read More

    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A political consultant who sent artificial intelligence-generated robocalls mimicking President Joe Biden's voice to voters ahead of New Hampshire's presidential primary faces a $6 million fine and more than two dozen criminal charges. The Federal Communications Commission said the fine it proposed Thursday for Steven... Read More

    Centrist Challenger Ousts Progressive Prosecutor in DA Race in Portland, Oregon

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Centrist district attorney candidate Nathan Vasquez has ousted the incumbent progressive prosecutor in Oregon’s Multnomah County,... Read More

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Centrist district attorney candidate Nathan Vasquez has ousted the incumbent progressive prosecutor in Oregon’s Multnomah County, home to Portland, after running a campaign in which he vowed to be tough on crime. One of District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s deputies, Vasquez was endorsed by... Read More

    California Congressman Urges Closer Consultation With Tribes on Offshore Wind

    A congressman who represents California’s north coast has sent a letter to federal regulators asking that they “urgently place” a... Read More

    A congressman who represents California’s north coast has sent a letter to federal regulators asking that they “urgently place” a senior official in the state to respond to tribal needs as wind power is developed offshore. U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman sent the letter as the U.S.... Read More

    Nevada Abortion-Rights Measure Has Enough Signatures for November Ballot

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Abortion access advocates in Nevada said Monday that they have submitted almost twice the number of petition signatures... Read More

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Abortion access advocates in Nevada said Monday that they have submitted almost twice the number of petition signatures needed to qualify a measure for the November ballot that would enshrine reproductive rights in the state constitution. Supporters collected and submitted more than 200,000 signatures,... Read More

    May 20, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    BLM Proposes Change to Mining Rules in Montana

    MILES CITY, Mont. — Though coal mining will continue for the foreseeable future at two Montana mines, those leases will... Read More

    MILES CITY, Mont. — Though coal mining will continue for the foreseeable future at two Montana mines, those leases will not be renewed under a plan published by the Bureau of Land Management. Last week the agency issued a supplemental environmental impact statement and proposed amendment... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top