Voters finally found a way to get things done and now politicians are thwarting them
April 17, 2019
Ballot measures can increase turnout and create change. Trying to repeal an initiative approved by voters smacks of arrogance and undermines democracy.
Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch suggested recently that the Supreme Court did not need to wade into the issue of partisan gerrymandering because so many states have passed reforms through the citizen initiative process that puts issues directly to voters. What Gorsuch left out is that only 24 states have a such a process. And in many of those states, legislatures are not only trying to make it harder to get issues on the ballot, they’re taking it upon themselves to reject what voters have approved — often by overwhelming majorities.
Citizen-initiated ballot measures have proven to be an effective tool for everyday people to advance issues that legislators too often fail to address, so the shameful attacks on the citizen initiative process by partisan politicians and wealthy special interests should not come as a surprise. In 2018, voters across the country used this vital tool to transform our democracy and fight for their communities.
New Push To Change Ohio’s Ballot Amendment Process
February 07, 2019
This week, Ohio Representative Kyle Koehler sent a letter to fellow lawmakers seeking cosponsors for a bill he’s introducing to change how constitutional amendments go to the ballot. And like the proposal that was considered during this winter’s lame duck session, it certainly looks as though it will primarily work by making it harder for grassroots citizens groups to put measures on the ballot.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Activists in Ohio are joining efforts around the country that supporters say are aimed at restoring rights to communities to challenge a growing list of corporate incursions. The campaign to pass an Ohio Community Rights Amendment stems from mounting frustration among environmental groups that have failed for years to push anti-fracking measures onto local ballots. But the latest effort is broader, said spokeswoman Tish O’Dell.
Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday announced that he had OK’d the first batch of signatures for each of two efforts to amend the Ohio Constitution.
Both are intended to keep moneyed interests from overriding the will of local voters by pressuring the Ohio General Assembly, said Tish O’Dell, spokeswoman for the Ohio Community Rights Network, the four-year-old-group pushing the amendments.
“It’s ‘we the people,’ not ‘we the corporations,’” she said.
The community rights amendment would establish a constitutional right to local community self-government for the “health, safety and welfare of community members.” The county and township amendment would extend Ohio’s constitutional right to initiative and referendum on state and city laws to county and township laws.
The amendments were drafted to address what supporters say is growing influence from the Ohio Statehouse on local, community decisions. The amendment is backed by the Ohio Community Rights Network and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.