When the 135th General Assembly passed amended Senate Joint Resolution 2, they destroyed the principle of one person, one vote. The amendment changes the threshold to 60% to pass an amendment, giving greater power to a NO vote than a YES vote on citizen-led amendments to the Ohio Constitution.
The Ohio Unity Coalition in partnership with Black led institutions and leaders will mobilize black voters in Ohio urban cities to turn out to vote and defeat this measure in August when it is on the ballot. The effort will be aligned with the overall “Protect One Person One Vote Campaign”.
“Ohioans have shown they want action on critical issues and when legislators fail to act, the citizen-led ballot initiative has been a critical tool for voters to a have direct say in our government” said Petee Talley, CEO and Convener of the Ohio Coalition on Black Civic Participation/Ohio Unity Coalition.
Coalition members and partners believe that passage of SJR2 is a deliberate act to silence black voices and takes our state back to a time when blacks were counted as only 3/5 of a person.
“This legislative maneuver is the ultimate power grab. It changes the rules for amending the Ohio Constitution and robs us of our democratic right to “one person, one vote!” This change means that a simple majority of us will no longer be able to express our will on the most important issues facing the electorate!” said retired Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine.
The process to amend the Ohio constitution by a simple majority has been in place for more than 110 years. According to information provided on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website, Ohio has had 76 citizen initiative petitions on the ballot, with only 20 that have passed. This process is not easy, nor should it be, but DEMOCRACY should be fair and allow majority rule of ONE PERSON. ONE VOTE and not allow the loser to take home the trophy.
The Ohio Coalition on Black Civic Participation/Ohio Unity Coalition has partners across the state representing Civil Rights organizations, Faith, Community, Labor, The Divine Nine sororities and fraternities, Voting Rights Organizations, Community Organizers and more and works to educate, engage and empower black voters continuously to remind them of their power and to demonstrate it to policymakers at the local, state and federal levels.