Letter: Issue 1 would eliminate last avenue for Ohioans to have say in governing

Letter to the editor

Ohioans are about to lose a voting right that has been enshrined in the Ohio Constitution for 111 years! In 1912, enlightened legislators added an amendment to our Constitution that allows citizens to institute laws and amend the Constitution through gathering signatures on petitions and putting their proposed change to a statewide vote. Such changes needed 50% plus 1 vote to pass.

Legislators in 1912, had the wisdom to provide a legal way around a state legislature that was ignoring the voice of a majority of Ohioans. Fast forward to 2023 where the Republican majority passed HJR1/SJR2 to increase the threshold for passage of a Constitutional Amendment from the 50% plus 1, to 60% plus one. They also added new rules to the signature gathering process that makes it nearly impossible to meet the requirements.

HJR1/SJR2 (Issue 1 on the ballot) will become enshrined in the Ohio Constitution if it passes by a simple majority in a special Aug. 8 election. After that, any citizen-initiated referendum to amend the Constitution would have to reach the 60% plus 1 vote threshold to pass, enabling under 40% of Ohio voters to defeat a popular Amendment. Republican legislators are trying to end forever a fair majority vote up or down on citizen-initiated constitutional amendments. In doing so, they are turning the revered Ohio Constitution into a partisan tool for voter suppression.

What are Republican legislators so afraid of? Their stated reason for their transparent power grab is to protect the Ohio Constitution from “special interest groups” interfering in elections. My question is, Why are you accepting over $1 million from Richard Uihlein, a billionaire from Illinois, and his ironically named Save the Constitution PAC?

What Republicans really fear is Ohioans passing citizen-initiated amendments on issues repeatedly ignored by the gerrymandered Legislature. This is not about protecting the Constitution, it’s about eliminating the last avenue for the majority of Ohioans to have a say in how we are governed. On Aug. 8, “Vote No” on the 60% plus 1 Amendment (Issue 1) to change the Ohio Constitution. Don’t let Republican legislators take away a voting right Ohio citizens have exercised since 1912.

Mady Noble, Wooster

This article originally appeared on The Daily Record: Letter: Ohio's Issue 1 would impede citizen voting rights