Ohio voters could grant GOP 'distorted advantage' in 'high-stakes stress tests for American democracy'

Ohio voters could grant GOP 'distorted advantage' in 'high-stakes stress tests for American democracy'
COLUMBUS, OHIO - NOVEMBER 8: People vote at a polling location at Indianola Church of Christ on Election Day on November 8, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. Republican candidate for U.S. Senate JD Vance and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) are running in a tightly contested race. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images).

Ohioans this Tuesday will vote on a proposal that would raise the threshold required for citizens to approve amendments to the Buckeye State Constitution, which "has quietly emerged as one of the most high-stakes stress tests for American democracy in recent years," The Guardian's Sam Levine reported on Sunday.

"Like 17other states, Ohio allows citizens to place constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot if they get a certain number of signatures and more than 50% of the statewide vote," Levine explained. "The process has been in place for more than a century in Ohio, and in November, voters will use it to decide whether to protect abortion rights."

If Issue 1 passes, Levine wrote, "a constitutional amendment would need 60% of the vote to pass instead of a simple majority. It would also make it significantly harder for citizens to even propose a constitutional amendment, requiring signatures from 5% of the voters in all of Ohio's 88 counties (the state currently requires organizers to get signatures in 44)."

READ MORE: 'Clearly defined body count': Florida and Ohio Republicans experienced 43 percent more COVID deaths than Dems

Levine noted that Issue 1 has critics across the political spectrum.

For instance, former Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, a Republican, told Levine that a sixty percent ceiling "absolutely is minority rule" because "if you get 59.9% of a vote that says yes, 40.1% can say no. This is the way it's gonna be. We can thwart the effort of the majority of Ohioans that vote. And that's not American."

Similarly, Issue 1' ratification, Levine continued, "would make it nearly impossible to get something on the ballot, which is already difficult, and only allow deep-pocketed groups to do so, said Jen Miller, the president of the Ohio chapter of the League of Women Voters, which opposes the amendment."

Levine added that "beyond reproductive rights, the August election has far-reaching implications for democracy in Ohio. Republicans hold a supermajority in the Ohio legislature after they manipulated district lines to their advantage last year, brazenly ignoring several rebukes from the state supreme court. Activists are already working to draft a constitutional amendment that would strip lawmakers of their redistricting authority entirely. But making it harder to change the constitution would essentially allow Republicans to keep their distorted advantage."

READ MORE: Ohio Court discards Black man’s conviction over judge’s 'troubling' remarks: report

View Levine's complete analysis at this link.

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