'Power-hungry hypocrites' trying to con Ohio. Issue 1 about dominance, deceit| Our view (2024)

'(The August 8 election) speaks to Ohio's heart and whether or not undemocratic forces will be successful in corrupting it with very big lies,' Dispatch Editorial Board

Dispatch Editorial Board| The Columbus Dispatch

If fairness lived in the hearts of some of Ohio's elected officials instead of deceit, voters would not be headed to vote early for the August 8 special election.

Frank LaRose There's no 'knife to the neck' of voters on constitutional changes

But the deception and the fear coursing through their veins is headed right for Ohio, the recently re-declared 'Heart of it All."

Issue 1 is one of the most significant questions Ohio voters will be asked in generations.

For 111 years, Ohioans have been able to seek votes from fellow voters when they believe "an issue is not addressed properly (or at all) in the Ohio Constitution."

Sixty percent of voter approval would be required instead of a simple majority of 50% plus one if Issue 1 — a statehouse con tied with pretty ribbon — is successful.

Those seeking to get amendments on the ballot would have the virtually insurmountable task of collecting signatures from at least 5% of voters from the last gubernatorial election in all 88 counties. Currently they have to go to 44 counties.

An attempt to catch you sleeping

It is shameful that the $20 million, single-issue August election is taking place.

The Republican legislators who put Issue 1 on the ballot know all too well that August elections are wasteful and hit voters while they are not paying attention during the dog days of summer, so turnout is low.

Just months ago, these power-hungry hypocrites voted to limit most August special electionsfor those very reasons. They were right then, they are wrong now.

Ohio voters will be asked to annihilate the simple principle of "one person, one vote" and replace it with minority control when it comes to citizen-led constitutional amendments.

Forty percent of voters will call the shots for the majority. How is that fair?

A "yes" vote on Issue 1 would be a blow against one of the best-known notions Abraham Lincoln expressed in the Gettysburg Address: the government should be of the people and for the people.

Ohio's elected officials have sadly already proven that they want to be above the people and not of the people.

Recent divisive proposed and approved legislation on issues ranging from whom can use which bathrooms to barring facts from college discussions shows they do not care about "the people's will" if the people's will differs from their own.

Both sides of their mouths

If those in support of Issue 1 truly believed this was good for democracy and Ohio, they would have the vote in November when Ohioans expect to vote.

Moreover, they would not be speaking out of both sides of their mouths about the reason the changes to our constitution are "needed."

Proponents have said publicly that it is about good government. They tell the truth when they think only some Ohioans are paying attention.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose for instance penned two guest columns published by the Dispatch in which he claimed the amendment was about protecting Ohio's constitution from outside special interest groups and from corrupt players like former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder.

Frank LaRose: There's no 'knife to the neck' of voters on constitutional changes

LaRose admitted recently that it is about keeping voters from deciding if abortion access should be enshrined in Ohio's constitution this November.

“Some people say this is all about abortion," LaRose said during a Lincoln Day dinner in northwest Ohio. "Well, you know what, I’m pro-life. I think many of you are as well. This is 100% about keeping a radical pro-abortion amendment out of our constitution. The left wants to jam it in there this coming November."

More than 700,000 signatures were filed Wednesday to put an abortion amendment on the November ballot.

State Rep. Brian Stewart — one of the issue's chief architects with LaRose —and others have made it abundantly clear that another goal is blocking efforts to create fairer statehouse and congressional voting districts.

Silencing Ohioans

Despite what LaRose says, Issue 1 is not 100% about abortion or redistricting for that matter.

It would most likely mean certain defeat for a list of potential citizen-led constitutional amendments not limited to gun control, workers' rights, increased minimum wage and term limits.

Citizen-led constitutional amendments may be the only way for those issues to come before voters here. Ohio's gerrymandered General Assembly has proven it can't be trusted to execute the will of the people no matter how hard the people petition lawmakers.

One of the most egregious examples of ignoring voters' will came when the Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission chose dominance over delivering the fair voting districts 71% of Ohioanssaid they wanted during a 2015anti-gerrymandering initiative.

Without citizen-led constitutional amendments there will be few things voters can do to enact change when lawmakers refuse to listen.

In fact,voter-initiated constitutional amendmentswere added at the 1912Ohio Constitutional Conventionbecause lawmakers did not listen to the demands of the people.

This election is special in ways that go beyond the date ballots will be counted. It speaks to Ohio's heart and whether or not undemocratic forces will be successful in corrupting it with very big lies.

Ohioans deserve "a government of the people, by the people, for the people."

  • Voters should have a real shot at deciding whether or not abortion and other issues are enshrined in the state's constitution.
  • Voters should not be asked to surrender their ballot right because elected officials are afraid of not getting their own way.
  • Voters surely should not be asked such an important question during the dog days of summer.

We should not be here as a state, but the August 8 special election will happen, nevertheless.

Lawmakers do not think you are paying attention, that your vote should count or that you will exercise your long-fought right to vote.

Prove them wrong by voting "no" on Issue 1.

Voting information

Monday, July 10, is the voter registration deadline for the August 8 election. Visit www.ohiosos.gov or call your county board of elections to register to vote, check to see if you are registered or change your registration information.

Polls will open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on election day, August 8.

Early in-person voting hours for the August 8 special election.

Visit www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/toolkit/early-voting/ for voting locations in your county.

July 11 to 14 — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

July 17 to 21 — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

July 24 to 28 — 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

July 31 — 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

August 1 — 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

August 2-4 — 7:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.

August 5 — 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

August 6 — 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

This piece was written by the Dispatch Opinion Editor Amelia Robinson on behalf ofThe Dispatch Editorial Board. Editorials are our board's fact-based assessment of issues of importance to the communities we serve. These are not the opinions of our reporting staff members, who strive for neutrality in their reporting.

'Power-hungry hypocrites' trying to con Ohio. Issue 1 about dominance, deceit| Our view (2024)


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