MEDIA BRIEFING: August Special Election is Ohio’s Next Democracy Battle (w/Video Links and Quotes)

COLUMBUS, OH — Democracy experts from Common Cause Ohio and All Voting is Local Action — Ohio held a meeting on Wednesday on the statewide effort to defeat Issue 1. 

If you missed today’s briefing, you can view the recording here.

Issue 1 seeks to raise the threshold to 60% to pass any future changes to the Ohio Constitution. The proposal would also make citizen-led ballot measures significantly harder by raising the signature-gathering requirements. The controversial ballot initiative is the latest attempt by the state legislature to seize power from Ohioans. Below are several comments made throughout the briefing.

Regarding the threat to direct democracy in Ohio:

“[Issue 1] is the latest underhanded attempt by the state legislature to seize power from Ohioans and take it all for themselves. This resolution would enable a minority of voters and special interests to determine the fate of the Ohio Constitution and our state. Ohioans will NOT stand for this — they won’t vote to take away their own power,” said Mia Lewis, associate director of Common Cause Ohio.

Regarding the grassroots campaign to defeat Issue 1:

“We represent hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Ohioans and we are doing voter to voter outreach to be sure all Ohioans know what’s at stake on August 8. Issue One is an attempt by state legislative leaders to convince Ohioans to give up our power to change the Ohio constitution. It’s a direct threat to majority rule,” said Kelly Dufour, voting and elections manager of Common Cause Ohio.

Regarding efforts across the country to prevent citizen-led initiatives:

When our rights are under attack, the ballot measure process is an important way for people to respond. These attacks against direct democracy are creating barriers for people to pass the issues that they care about. In a time where people are calling on their leaders to act to protect reproductive health, democracy and other major policies, legislators are not only deciding against passing laws, they are taking efforts to make sure that the people themselves can’t do so either. By trying to pass Issue 1, bad-faith actors are trying to block the core issues of democracy,” said Elena Nunez, director of state operations, ballot measure strategies at Common Cause.

Regarding using Issue 1 to attack reproductive health rights:

The Ohio state legislature’s true intentions are to prevent Ohioans from making decisions that reflect the will of the people. Specifically, the right to reproductive health care, a right that’s being attacked via the funding of Dick Uihlein, an Illinois billionaire backing the restrictions Issue 1 will create. Ohioans deserve better,” said Kayla Griffin, state director of All Voting is Local Action – Ohio.

Since 1912, amendments to the Ohio Constitution have been approved by a simple majority. For more than 110 years, Ohioans have had the right to take proposed amendments to the Ohio Constitution directly to the voters by gathering signatures from voters. For a history of citizen-led amendments since 1950, click here

Voters will have through Aug. 8 to cast a ballot determining whether or not to limit citizens’ access to direct democracy.

Important election dates:

  • Early In-Person Voting: Now – Aug. 7
  • Absentee Voting by Mail: Beg July 11
  • Election Day: Aug. 8; polls are open from 6:30 a.m – 7:30 p.m.


See More: Voting & Elections