By DemocracyIssues.com, an Ohio-based Voter Rights initiative
Ohio Issue 1 that is on the ballot for an August 8 Special Election is being
opposed by major Voter Rights organizations in the state. If Politicians who
created Issue 1 succeed, it will be almost impossible to pass most future
citizen-led ballot issues.
The result would be to take away the current right held by ordinary citizens
to initiate ballot issues that challenge and replace laws put in place by
anti-democratic or out of touch Politicians.
One key provision of this anti-democratic legislation is to raise the
threshold for voter passage of a citizen-led Constitutional Amendment from
the current 50%, to instead, 60%.
If it passes, Issue 1 will allow a minority of 40% of the voters to control
the outcome of a citizen-led ballot issue supported by 60% of the voters.
Ohio Politicians working to keep Unconstitutional Gerrymandered Election
Ohio Representative Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) who is the primary sponsor of
House Joint Resolution 1(HJR1) that is the law authorizing Issue 1 explained
in a private letter to members of his political party the purpose for this
legislation (Statehouse News Bureau-March 10, 2023).
According to Stewart’s letter, one of Issue 1’s main objectives is to
protect the Ohio GOP’s current practice of gerrymandering that has created
rigged election districts in the state and that guarantees the continued
reelection of a majority of GOP candidates in the future.
Issue 1 is being put forward in spite of the overwhelming wishes of Ohio
In 2015, over 71% of Ohio voters approved The Ohio Bipartisan Redistricting
Commission Constitutional Amendment in order to end gerrymandered election
districts for all state of Ohio elections. (
In 2018, Ohio voters approved The Congressional Redistricting Procedures
Amendment for all federal contests in the state.
For the 2022 midterm elections, in spite of the 2015 Constitutional
Amendment being in place in which voters overwhelmingly demanded that
districts for state elections be fair and nonpartisan, the Ohio
Redistricting Commission (ORC) repeatedly created gerrymandered distract
maps that assured that the GOP would control the outcome of elections in a
large majority of the districts for years to come.
And on five (5) separate occasions, the Ohio Supreme Court ordered that the
2022 gerrymandered district maps were unconstitutional and must be redrawn.
These highly manipulated district maps deprive many voters of their right to
vote by rigging in advance the outcome of an election in favor of the
political party in control of setting up the maps.
Each of the Court’s orders was ignored and with time running out until
Election Day, the Ohio Supreme Court permitted the use of a set of the
gerrymandered maps in the 2022 midterms.
Independent Ohio Redistricting Commission
Voting Rights organizations in Ohio are now examining a new Constitutional
Amendment to establish the Ohio Independent Redistricting Commission in
order to permanently end gerrymandering. It will be similar to the new
Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission that has eliminated partisan
districts in that state.
Issue 1’s 60% threshold for passage along with an almost impossible set of
signature petition requirements were designed with the specific purpose and
intent of preventing a Constitutional Amendment for an Ohio Independent
Redistricting Commission that would end gerrymandering in the state.
Issue 1 is critical in order for a small group of Ohio GOP Politicians to be
able to continue unconstitutional and anti-democratic gerrymandered election
districts that predetermine the outcome of future elections in the state
even before the first ballot is cast.