FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Ross Sherman, RepresentUs Media Relations Manager, 207-749-2660, firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio state politicians introduced legislation last week that would make it more difficult for voters to pass laws by ballot initiative. The so-called “Ohio Constitution Protection Amendment” would raise the threshold to pass citizen-led constitutional amendments from a simple majority (50% plus one) to a supermajority (60%).
“Let’s be clear about what self-interested politicians in Ohio are doing. While you’re busy hanging out with your family and friends this holiday season, they’re trying to take away your voice in government,” said Interim Director of Political Campaigns Megan Caska. “Ballot initiatives are a critical check and balance for voters when politicians fail to act on popular issues. Instead of spending their time strangling the voice of the people, elected officials need to uphold it.”
These attacks on the ballot initiative process are not unique to Ohio. According to a RepresentUs report and interactive map released earlier this year, politicians in 11 states have introduced at least 64 bills in the last five years to make it harder for voters to pass laws. This backlash comes on the heels of voters successfully using ballot measures to pass popular laws that fight corruption and increase voter power. If supermajority requirements were the standard for passing ballot initiatives, countless important laws would never have passed, including women’s suffrage, gay marriage and ethics reforms.
Not only are politicians introducing bills attacking ballot initiatives, they’re also carrying out an unprecedented legal strategy to take away voters’ ability to pass laws. The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case on December 7 – Moore v. Harper – which could have as big an impact on America’s elections as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and Shelby County v. Holder. The justices could rule that state legislatures alone have the authority to make rules about federal elections, and that existing checks and balances like state supreme courts don’t apply to them.
RepresentUs is part of a nonpartisan anti-corruption coalition submitting a friend-of-the-court brief urging the justices to reject this shameless attempt by politicians to take more power from voters. On the day of the Moore v. Harper hearing, RepresentUs and partners will rally at the Supreme Court to demonstrate that voters across the political spectrum oppose giving politicians unchecked power.
Finally, RepresentUs will release additional research ahead of the hearing to educate the public about what voter-passed laws and constitutional provisions in the states are at risk because of the Moore v. Harper case.
RepresentUs is America’s leading nonpartisan organization fighting to protect and strengthen democracy. We unite unlikely allies from across the political spectrum who put country over party to pass pro-democracy laws, fight corruption, and defeat authoritarian threats. We have won more than 170 victories in cities and states across America since our founding 10 years ago. Each win is one step closer to our vision of making America the world’s strongest democracy.