Opponents file a lawsuit to stop constitutional amendment ballot issue in Ohio

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — A lawsuit has been filed with the Ohio Supreme Court to prevent a possible constitutional amendment question from going to the statewide ballot in August.

A homemade sign reads HJR1 Silences Ohio Voices Vote No as protestors oppose the resolution in the state capitol
[Jo Ingles | Statehouse News Bureau]
The resolution, passed by majority Republicans in the Ohio Legislature, would ask voters to make it harder to pass future constitutional amendments by requiring 60% voter approval. Experts have questioned the legality of the resolution and the state’s high court is being asked to intervene.

The group, One Person, One Vote, along with Jeniece Brock, Brent Edwards, and Christopher Tavenor filed the suit.

It claims the resolution is unconstitutional, in part, because it contained two distinct legal instruments that cannot be combined.

Ohio lawmakers had been considering the resolution and a stand-alone bill to set an August special election to consider it. But some lawmakers were reluctant to vote for a bill to set an August special election, especially since just months ago, they passed legislation to outlaw most special elections because they typically have low voter turnout and cost millions of dollars.

Dennis Willard, spokesman for One Person, One Vote said a constitutional change of this magnitude should not be considered in a low-turnout election.

“The question every voter should be asking themselves is – why August, when there was already an election scheduled for November? The answer is simple: because that’s what special interests wanted. Special interests spent millions lobbying for an August election – which will cost taxpayers $20 million – specifically because that’s when turnout is the lowest. This is an illegal special election for special interests. Period,” Willard said.

Republican lawmakers who oppose abortion rights are worried about a constitutional amendment that will likely be on the November statewide ballot that, if passed, would enshrine abortion access and reproductive rights into the constitution.