Swing-State Supreme Court Shuts Down GOP Ploy That Could Sway Election

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The Ohio state Supreme Court has partially approved a push from concerned petitioners regarding the proposed amendment to the state Constitution that will be put before residents later this year.

That proposed change to the state rules would, besides other provisions, update the level of support that’s needed for a constitutional amendment to pass from a simple majority to nearly two-thirds. The proposal is scheduled to go before voters not long before another proposed constitutional change, which would protect abortion rights, may be voted upon, which positions the update to the level of required approval as a specific threat to the push to protect abortion.

In the legal challenge in which the state’s highest court has now ruled, the organization One Person One Vote and individual voters in Ohio had challenged the arguably leading description that was set to be presented to voters regarding the proposed change to handling amendments. In other words, the language that would be used for the presented proposal cast it in what was easily seen as a very positive light, failing to explain even the background of the earlier majority rules that would be changed. The title for statewide ballots that had been drafted also seemed leading, as it characterized the changes as “elevating the standards” of enacting constitutional amendments, as if the previous framework has been substantially lacking and doesn’t originate a century ago.

The description for the changes made, in fact, no attempt at explaining the prior standards for passing amendments at all. The state Supreme Court in Ohio has now demanded that the title on ballots be rewritten with accompanying adjustments to the body text, though their demands were limited. The changes in the description must further define “electors,” apparently further elaborating on the shifts that would be made to how citizen-led proposed amendments would be handled. It’s not just five percent of all eligible voters whose signatures would be needed in each county before an amendment reached the needed support for going to a statewide vote. It’s five percent… based on the voters who participated in the most recent governor’s race, conceivably a significantly smaller number.

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Image: Ohio Senate Dems on Twitter, used for editorial purposes