Ohio GOP leaders propose increasing threshold for citizen-led ballot initiatives
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - Some top Ohio Republicans want to make it harder for citizens to lead ballot initiatives to enact constitutional amendments.
Their goal is to raise the threshold to pass at the ballot box to 60% from its current 50%.
Secretary of State Frank Larose and Rep. Brian Stewart of Ashville announced their plans at a news conference Thursday to push the proposal through the legislature by the end of this calendar year. If they’re successful, voters would decide next May whether to adopt the change.
“Requiring a 60% supermajority for the passage of a constitutional amendment is a win for good government because it restores the power of popular majorities, bipartisan consensuses and deciding the enormous importance of questions such as amending our state’s constitution,” LaRose said.
There are two separate ways to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot. One is through the General Assembly, which requires a supermajority (60%) consensus in each chamber of the legislature. Once that threshold is reached, voters need to approve those measures by a simple majority (50%).
Both constitutional amendments passed during the 2022 midterm election went the legislative route and passed with more than 77% of the vote.
The second route is through a citizen-led initiative. The changes proposed by LaRose and Stewart wouldn’t change the signature threshold for groups to meet in order to pose a question to voters on the ballot. It would instead raise the bar to adopt a change to the constitution from 50% to 60% at the ballot box.
LaRose argued that it would make it harder for “special interest groups” to influence changes to the state’s constitution and require compromise and consensus building.
Democrats called the proposal a “power grab.”
“Frank LaRose has once again put politics over principle, and is selling out to extreme Republicans who don’t want to be held accountable by Ohio voters,” Democratic party chair Elizabeth Walters said in a statement.
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