The Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie oppose State Issue 1 and ask that you vote NO on August 8th.
Since 1912, Ohio citizens have counted on being able to try and amend the Ohio constitution with a majority of votes. The illegally gerrymandered Ohio legislature is proposing adopting a 60% threshold for citizen initiated amendments. Their power grab would also require signatures of 5% of all voters in all 88 counties in the state and would not allow petitioners to gather additional signatures should they fall short initially. SHoWLE believes this “elevation of standards” makes a difficult process near impossible for marginalize groups in the state and violates our Humanist values.
The specific reason this amendment is on the ballot in August is because there likely will be a Reproductive Rights Amendment on the November ballot and the Christian Nationalists, led by Ohio Right to Life, wants to change the rules in hopes of sabotaging the effort to protect reproductive rights in the state after the end of Roe v Wade.
When religious conservatives have ideas people don’t support they change the rules or “buy” support from the legislature.
Republicans in the legislature claim they are protecting the Ohio constitution from outside interests. Forgive us for snorting while laughing at this ludicrous statement. The gerrymandered illegal super majority has ignored the Ohio constitution concerning drawing legislative districts. They also ignored five Ohio Supreme Court judgements ruling the gerrymandering violated the Ohio constitution and they want to say they are protecting the constitution?
We also question the legitimacy of one of the sponsors of the Joint Resolution in the Senate. Senator Theresa Gaverone voted in the May 2022 primary in Erie county before her gerrymandered district was imposed by federal court on May 28th 2022. According to the Ohio Revised Code she forfeited her office when she voted outside her district. For someone who claims to want to protect the constitution and takes an oath to defend it, she totally ignored it.
More than likely had the legislature districts been redrawn according to the constitution, this amendment to change the threshold most likely wouldn’t have been put on the ballot.
We believe that amendments to constitutions should be difficult but not impossible. One shouldn’t need millions of dollars and hundreds of signature gatherers to attempt to get on the ballot. The current process works just fine. Since 1912, 69 ballot issues have been considered and only 24% have passed by majority vote. The last citizen initiated amendment to pass was Marsy’s Law in 2017.
Since Ohio doesn’t have a mechanism to recall elected officials, the ballot initiative is the only way to address grievances with what laws are passed. It becomes the only recourse when the legislature gerrymanders itself so voters can’t choose their own elected officials.
The make up of the Ohio legislature doesn’t reflect the actual views of a majority of Ohioans and if State Issue 1 passes, there will be even less of chance to hold them accountable.