This Election Cycle: Issue 1

Rachel Citak,
Attorney at Law, President of CRTL

This election cycle, it’s not enough for us to make sure that all like-minded voters participate—every participant must be fully informed. I have never seen so many of our typically liberty-minded individuals so easily led astray by the messaging of opposition…the populist repetition of “one person, one vote,” direct democracy, and the notion of “vote dilution” have been running rampant. This is unfortunately happening among friends who lean libertarian–especially those generally uninvolved with local and state level issues.

So let’s set the record straight.

What is Issue 1? Issue 1 aims to elevate the requirements for amending the constitution. This includes a requirement that petitioners obtain signatures on their initial petition from all the counties in our state instead of half the counties as required right now. Additionally, an amendment will have to obtain a 60% vote, or “supermajority” instead of the current 50% plus one vote “simple majority.”

This election cycle, the term “supermajority” is somewhat misleading to the layperson. Ohio is far from alone in seeking greater security for changing our founding documents–four other states (Arizona, California, Louisiana, Nevada) have enacted a 66% vote requirement for amending the state Constitution.

Three additional states (Delaware, Mississippi, Oregon) have enacted a 60% requirement for amendments to the state Constitution. Just like our nation has a Constitution, each state has one as well. The United States Constitution requires a 2/3 vote (66.66…%) to amend the Constitution–and 2/3 of the states must ratify it. The U.S. has 25 active amendments, 27 if we include the enactment and repeal of Prohibition.

Do you know how many amendments the Ohio Constitution has been burdened with?

172. One hundred and seventy two. Let that sink in. That’s 172 reasons Ohioans have to hire a lawyer to even begin to understand their rights. 172 reasons contributing to why Ohio was once ranked as the 10th longest state constitution in 2012. How did this happen? Those of us who support Issue 1 believe that our procedural process is to blame… Ohio’s low bar for petitioners and election makes our state attractive to out-of-state special interests willing to invest big dollars in influencing policy here. As the familiar adage says, “so goes Ohio, so goes the nation.”

This election cycle is unique, because the November election is inextricably intertwined with the outcome of Issue 1 in August.

And for the first time, the future of abortion in Ohio is interwoven with issues like gender identity ideology and parental rights. This special election has brought together unexpected allies from small business owners, restaurant owners, gun owners, and parent groups. This election, Ohio organizations with no prior involvement in social issues within our state have recognized what is at stake in August and November. I recently was able to uncover the Goliaths looming behind the funding and support of Issue 1 opposition. Say hello to a dense network of statewide unionization, and climate groups, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), along with the usual suspects—the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Protect Choice Ohio, URGE, Equality Ohio, Red Wine and Blue and the League of Women Voters—all united behind an umbrella organization and registered as, “One Person, One Vote” Issue 1 opposition also includes editorial boards of major cosmopolitan newspapers including The Columbus Dispatch and the The Cleveland Plain Dealer –with more likely to jump on board. This organization leading the Issue 1 opposition is tied to:

● Endorsing organizations Common Cause and Stand Up America, which have both provided financial contributions to the DNC and Democrat congressional committee.

● Advisor organization The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center which describes themselves as “a nationwide movement building infrastructure organization that leverages ballot measures across the United States to…center people of color, queer, low-income, immigrant, Indigenous, and other marginalized communities…and galvanize a new progressive base.”

Issue 1 also faces opposition from the Ohio Democrat Party, which is ironic– seeing as the Ohio Democrat Party Constitution requires a 60% vote to amend as well! Surely our state’s founding document deserves as much protection. Additionally, HJR19 in 2018 was co-sponsored by a Democrat, proposing the same protection as Issue 1.

Do not believe the deception and distraction that Issue 1 is just about abortion. Issue 1 is so much broader than the issue of abortion. This election, we are being called to go beyond abortion if we have any hope of saving lives from its destruction.

This election, we must vote YES in August and NO in November to protect the future of our state.