Ohioans will go to the polls on Tuesday, August 8. This election is unusual. There is a single item on the ballot: Issue 1 “Elevating the Standards to Qualify for an Initiated Constitutional Amendment and to Pass a Constitutional Amendment.” As the official ballot language shows, voting “Yes” means that future constitutional amendments will need at least 60 percent of votes to pass, while voting “No” keeps the process as it is today: a simple majority, or 50 percent plus 1.
Voting “Yes” on Issue 1 means that future constitutional amendments will need at least 60 percent of votes to pass, while voting “No” keeps the process as it is today: a simple majority, or 50 percent plus 1.
1926: the last time a statewide issue was on a special election ballot
It has been more than 95 years since Ohioans were asked to consider amending the Ohio Constitution during a special election. Only once in the state’s history has a special election been used to amend the Ohio Constitution, in September 1912 when the provision for initiatives and referenda were established. In 1926, voters in a special election did not approve a measure which would have changed municipal tax levies for public improvements. Every other statewide issue in Ohio’s history has been decided during a primary or general election.
Weren’t August elections eliminated in 2022?
Voters may be confused because just last year the Ohio General Assembly eliminated August special elections with almost no exceptions. Less than six months later, Ohio House and Senate passed a joint resolution to put Issue 1 before voters on August 8, 2023. In a 4-3 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the Ohio General Assembly could trigger a special issue-only election. So we go to the polls.
New photo ID requirements
Voting laws have also changed since last year’s general election. Now, Ohio voters are required to show an unexpired photo ID which includes the voter’s name as shown in the Poll List. The photo ID does not need to show the voter’s current address. Ohioans over age 17 can obtain an acceptable photo ID from the BMV at no cost. More information is available here: https://publicsafety.ohio.gov/static/free-ID-palm-card.pdf
Early voting in Ohio is open until August 6
Early voting is open until Sunday, August 6 but dates and times vary by county. Visit your county’s Board of Elections to learn more.
Everyone should make a plan to vote, either early or on election day, August 8.