Ohio House votes to send 60% approval amendment to special election in August
Wednesday was the deadline for Ohio lawmakers to decide if they'll ask voters to make it harder to amend the constitution in a statewide special election in August. That afternoon, the House voted to approve both measures.
But it's possible the resolution could face a legal challenge because of a law that was passed last December.
Lawmakers went down to the wire in the effort, one that started last November when Secretary of State Frank LaRose first brought forward increasing the voter approval threshold for constitutional amendments, along with fellow Republican Rep. Brian Stewart (R-Ashville).
Both claimed it was about protecting Ohio's founding document from big money and out-of-state special interests. But in a letter to his Republican lawmakers that surfaced in December, Stewart made it clear that the main drivers were defeating abortion and gerrymandering amendments.
At the time, supermajority Republicans weren't able to get the 60% threshold before voters in the May primary, which had to happen by early February of this year. Then two groups working on a reproductive rights and abortion access amendment teamed up to try to make this November's ballot. They are currently collecting signatures.
That sparked Republicans to propose creating an August special election for the 60% threshold vote — which was a flip from Republicans' view from December, when most August elections were eliminated because of high costs and low turnout.
The addition of the August special election date into the resolution has sparked debate. Supporters say all resolutions include a date for voters to decide on them. But opponents say because most August special elections were eliminated in House Bill 458, which passed in December and took effect in April, the resolution is trying to change existing state law — which they say cannot be done.
This story will be updated.
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