Letter to the Editor Toolkit for Protecting Direct Democracy
BOTH the Ohio House (House Joint Resolution 1) and Ohio Senate (Senate Joint Resolution 2) are proposing amendments that would lock in minority rule in Ohio and allow 40% +1 of voters to dictate law and policy to everyone else. Our access to the ballot is the only thing that allows us to push back when the gerrymandered legislature is unresponsive to the needs and concerns of the majority.
With origins from the initial power grab sponsored by Secretary Frank LaRose and Rep. Brian Stewart, in December 2022, these amendments seek to raise the threshold to pass a ballot initiative from 50% +1 of Ohio voters to 60%. Additionally, these matching resolutions go further by requiring signatures equaling five percent of the gubernatorial vote in all 88 counties (up from 44 counties currently) and remove the “cure period,” the window after signatures are turned in when a campaign is allowed to go back out and collect more to try to make up for a shortfall.
We need to tell lawmakers today: NO on HJR 1 and SJR 2.
One easy way to put together a letter to the editor is to make a “Values, Problem, and Solution Sandwich” using one idea from each section below. Start out your letter stating your values. Add information about the problem, then finish by explaining your solution. We’ve also included a sample letter at the bottom, tips for writing, and contact info in case you have additional questions.
- We all want the freedom to make decisions that affect our lives. Ballot initiatives let us exercise that freedom.
- We need to protect our freedom to determine our future in Ohio, not permanently change our constitution to give up our rights.
- Ohioans deserve to have their voices heard in citizen-led ballot initiatives.
- Ohioans have used ballot initiatives to deliver wins for our communities.
- Since 1912, the people of Ohio have used ballot initiatives to have a say in Ohio politics and make positive changes in their communities.
- Ohioans of all demographics support having the voices of the people, not big money, heard in citizen-led initiatives.
- [Your own democracy-related value / why ballot initiatives are important to you & your community]
- HJR 1 and SJR 2 are political power grab from special interests, lobbyists, and corrupt politicians that seeks to take power away from citizens.
- Corrupt politicians want to get rid of ballot initiatives as we know them in Ohio because that means more power for them and less power for voters to decide on the issues that matter the most.
- HJR 1 and SJR 2 would end majority rule in Ohio and give 40 percent of voters the power to make decisions for everyone else.
- This bill undermines the sacred principle of ‘one person, one vote’ and would take away our right to have a voice in deciding what happens here and the laws that affect us.
- Extremist politicians don’t like the decisions we’ve made; they want to rewrite the rules, so they can get what they want — instead of what the people want.
- HJR 1 and SJR 2 are not good government reform.
- Making the ballot initiative process even harder for citizens groups will have the opposite of the desired effect: it will make it almost impossible for anyone except big money special interests to successfully pass a ballot initiative in Ohio.
- Some politicians are making it harder for us to pass ballot initiatives that they don’t agree with, even though the majority of Ohioans support them.
- Politicians who prioritize special interests over people are proposing to make the ballot initiative process much harder with HJR 1 and SJR 2.
- HJR 1 and SJR 2 are unfair, undemocratic, unpopular, and unnecessary.
- It’s ironic that legislators want to push through SJR 2 during an August special election when only a tiny minority of voters are likely to turn out (just 8 percent in 2022). They say they want to protect our Constitution from the “mob rule” of 50 percent, but are willing to allow less than ten percent to amend the Ohio Constitution and enshrine minority rule.
- We should be focused on making it easier for citizens to have their voices heard and make real change in their communities that improve our lives, not putting up roadblocks that silence them.
- The Ohio Legislature must put Ohioans first and stop HJR 1 and SJR 2 today.
- We must come together and call on our legislators to oppose HJR 1 and SJR 2.
- Higher thresholds for Ohio ballot measures are unfair, unpopular, and undemocratic. We must do everything we can to stop HJR 1 and SJR 2.
- Significant changes to our Constitution should only be made after a lengthy and thorough public discussion, and voted on during high turnout elections to maximize the number of Ohioans weighing in. No changes to the Constitution should be placed on the ballot in off-year August special elections.
- Our legislators must put an end to HJR 1 and SJR 2 in order to protect our citizen-led democracy.
Here’s a sample Letter to the Editor
We all want the freedom to make decisions that affect our lives and improve our communities. Since 1912, Ohio voters have used ballot initiatives to exercise that freedom. Now, lobbyists, special interests, and extremist politicians in the Ohio Statehouse want to take this power away from citizens. House Joint Resolution 1 and Senate Joint Resolution 2 are blatant political power grabs in an attempt to secure more power and control for themselves and less power for voters to decide on the issues that matter the most. We must protect our ballot initiative process and make it easier for citizens to have their voices heard and make real change in their communities, instead of putting up roadblocks that silence voters. We must come together and call on our legislators to oppose HJR 1 and SJR 2.
Helpful Resources and Background Information
- Don’t Let Statehouse Politicians Take Away Our Rights! Pointed Op-Eds from Mike Curtin, retired Dispatch reporter
- No on HJR1 Messaging Points
Tips for Submitting to a Local Newspaper
Major Ohio newspapers are below for your reference. Please keep in mind that it can be helpful to refer to a recent relevant article or op-ed in your LTE to make it more timely. Be sure to check your city’s paper to find guidance on word count — it may vary from less than 100 words to less than 500 words.
Akron Beacon Journal: beaconjournal.com (Akron newspaper). All letters must have the writer’s name, address and daytime telephone number for confirmation purposes. All letters are subject to editing. Maximum length for letters is 300 words. Email: VOP@thebeaconjournal.com.
Athens News: athensnews.com/ (Athens newspaper). Send your letters to the editor and news tips to: firstname.lastname@example.org or submit the LTE submission form (deadline is noon on Monday)
Cincinnati.com/The Enquirer: cincinnati.com (Cincinnati newspaper). Letters to the editor must be less than 100 words. Submit here or to email@example.com.
Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer: cleveland.com (Cleveland newspaper). Submit letters to the editor with 200 words or less here.
Dayton Daily News: daytondailynews.com (Dayton newspaper). To submit a letter to the editor, email: Edletter@coxinc.com.
Lima News: limaohio.com (Lima newspaper). Letters should between 150 to 275 words, should refer to an article that has appeared in print or online, and must include the writer’s address and phone numbers. Submit a letter to the editor here.
Sandusky Register: https://sanduskyregister.com (Sandusky newspaper). If you want to submit a Local Voices column, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Columbus Dispatch: dispatch.com (Columbus newspaper). Find information for submitting letters to the editor here.
The Morning Journal: https://www.morningjournal.com (Lorain/western Cuyahoga newspaper). Send your letter to the editor to: email@example.com.
Toledo Blade: You can submit here:https://www.toledoblade.com/
Please contact Kelly Dufour at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions, if you don’t see your newspaper on this list or need assistance with your letter.