Issue 1 is an attack on democracy — vote No

A core principle of democracy is majority rule. Issue 1 is an attack on democracy.

To the editor:

There is a special election on August 8 with only one item on the ballot — Issue 1. The issue, if passed, will require future citizen-initiated amendments to the Ohio Constitution to get 60% of the vote to pass rather than a simple majority, which has been the standard since 1912. It would also increase the signature requirements for a citizen-initiated amendment to be placed on the ballot, making citizen-led ballot initiatives virtually impossible.

Since 1912, Ohio citizens have been using ballot initiatives to make Ohio a better place to call home, but the process is not overused. In those years, there have been 69 citizen-led constitutional amendments on the ballot, and only 26% of them passed, which demonstrates that it is already not easy for citizens to amend the state constitution.

Through citizen-led ballot campaigns, Ohio voters have approved pensions for war veterans, funded school construction, prohibited monopolies from passing constitutional amendments for their own financial gain, raised the minimum wage, provided low housing assistance, funded conservation efforts, allowed women and people of color to join the Ohio National Guard, and invested in infrastructure improvements. Many of these ballot initiatives would not have passed if 60% approval had been required.

The League of Women Voters of Ohio does not usually take a stand on ballot issues; the work of LWV is to promote democracy and to support voters. However, when an issue is harmful to voters, the League must speak up. LWV Ohio is recommending a “No” vote. A core principle of democracy is majority rule. Issue 1 is an attack on democracy. It’s an attack on the freedom of Ohio citizens to use ballot initiatives when politicians, lobbyists, and special interests fail us.

Mary Costello & Adriane Mohlenkamp
for the League of Women Voters of Athens County

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