COLUMBUS, Ohio – In response to lawmakers attempting to change ballot measure requirements through House Joint Resolution 1 (HJR 1) and institute a special election during August so voters can vote on the resolution, All Voting is Local Action Ohio State Director Kayla Griffin released the following statement:
“If HJR 1 is ushered through a special August election – an election that these lawmakers know will result in low voter turnout like most special elections – minority rule will become enshrined in the state. It is clear that HJR 1 further dilutes the votes of Ohioans in a state where our voices are already diminished and silenced. Voters should pick our leaders and be able to vote on issues that matter to us through our democratic process; leaders should not pick which of us to hear and which to silence, including when it comes to ballot measures. This special election will not only cost Ohioans $20 million, but it will also cost them the democratic promise of one person, one vote, because it will end majority rule on the matter.
“When House Bill 458 was signed into law in January, lawmakers in favor of the bill voted for not only many anti-voter policies, but they also voted to end special elections. Just weeks later, a ballot measure was approved to move forward in collecting signatures to get on the November ballot, and these same lawmakers brought special elections back to the table in order to create further obstacles and barriers for this, and all future, ballot measures to pass and follow through the amendment process.”
If the special August election is held, HJR 1 could potentially be on the August ballot and pass before the November election, forcing all ballot measures slated to be on the November ballot to follow the requirements laid out in the resolution. The new condition would require 60% of votes to approve any new constitutional amendment, not majority rule.
On March 29, a group of lawmakers also filed a discharge petition on the resolution, which, if signed by the simple majority of House members, would allow it to bypass the committee process, moving it to floor vote automatically and without having to be voted out of committee or completing hearings.