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“We have to turn up and turn out”: How an Ohio ballot measure became the nation’s latest political fault line
The results of a referendum targeted to end majority rule in the state will reverberate across the country ahead of 2024.
All eyes on the Buckeye State • Voters in Ohio will make their voices heard today on a ballot referendum that, if passed, would require the approval of 60 percent of Ohioans to approve any proposed amendment to the state’s constitution.
The referendum, known as State Issue 1, is an example of how voters can flex their political power at the local and state level in between national elections, the next of which is 455 days away.
It’s also an opportunity, according to opponents of the measure, for state politicians to raise the simple-majority threshold for popular issues that could come before Ohioans next year — including measures to enshrine the right to abortion care, increase the minimum wage, legalize recreational marijuana, and reform the state’s redistricting process.
“Issue 1 ends majority rule in Ohio,” Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Ohio) said in a statement to Supercreator Daily. “Republicans know they don’t have the support of the people to enact their agenda. They can’t beat us, so they’re trying to cheat us.”
Wait, there’s more… • In addition to the 60-percent threshold for constitutional amendments, State Issue 1 would also require proposed constitutional amendments filed on or after Jan. 1, 2024, to be signed by at least five percent of the electors in each county — a figure that would be determined based on the total county vote for governor from the most recent election. If passed, State Issue 1 would also prevent additional signatures filed after the start of the new year from being added to a petition proposing a constitutional amendment.
Ballot measures, explained • Referendums like State Issue 1 put policy questions directly to the people rather than a legislature or the executive branch settling them.
During the 2022 midterm elections, voters decided on 137 state ballot measures, with Alabama, Arizona, and Colorado leading the way with at least 10 in each state. A few significant measures from the cycle:
South Dakota passed expanded Medicaid to a wider population of its low-income residents.
Michigan passed a constitutional amendment to protect the right to abortion care.
Illinois passed a constitutional right to collective bargaining and banned “right-to-work” laws.
Arizona passed a three-percent cap on medical debt interest and limited the ability of debt collectors to seize assets from people who owe money for medical services.
New Mexico passed an amendment to provide dedicated funding for universal pre-K and child care.
Nevada passed an initiative to raise the state’s minimum wage from $9 to $15.
Ballot initiatives have recently attracted national prominence in the aftermath of controversial decisions from the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority. They’ve also helped states bypass the Senate filibuster, which requires 60 votes to break for most major federal legislation and has blocked progress on voting rights, abortion rights, and reforms to the care economy.
The case for State Issue 1 • Proponents of the ballot measure, including Republican state Rep. Brian Stewart and Republican state Sen. Rob McColley argue State Issue 1 makes Ohio’s constitution similar to the US version and ensures amendments have widespread support.
Supporters say requiring signatures from all 88 Ohio counties will end the alleged county cherry-picking that takes place under the current conditions, which call for signatures from 44 counties to get a proposed amendment on the ballot.
State Issue 1 would end the 10-day period when campaigns can collect additional signatures if their initial round fails to exceed the required minimum, a stipulation that would prevent special interests from flooding the state to secure signature submissions.
The case against State Issue 1 • In addition to empowering 40 percent of the state population to block any issue, critics of the ballot measure say it would redistribute power from the people to wealthy special interests.
Opponents add that State Issue 1 would permanently undo constitutional protections that have been in place for 100 years to check politicians’ power at the ballot box.
Abortion rights groups characterize the referendum as the latest sinister attempt by anti-abortion politicians and activists to restrict reproductive freedom, a charge the official responsible for overseeing the state’s elections didn’t dismiss.
“This is 100 percent about keeping a radical, pro-abortion amendment out of our constitution,” Frank LaRose, Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, said in May. “The left wants to jam it in there this coming November.”
Substance aside, opponents have also grumbled about the Ohio state legislature scheduling a special election to resolve the ballot measure instead of putting it on the general election ballot this November.
“Ohio Republicans tried to sneak this through in the middle of summer,” Brown, whose district encompasses northeast Ohio, said. “But Ohioans took notice and are turning out in massive numbers. We have to turn up and turn out and defeat Issue One.”
Congresswoman Brown also warned that if Issue 1 passes, similar measures will multiply across the country.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) expected to join canvass launches and virtual rallies across the state to encourage Ohioans to vote No on State Issue 1, his campaign manager Rachel Petri told Supercreator Daily in a statement.
“He is standing against this corrupt power grab — designed to silence voters and help special interests — because it’s the right thing to do for Ohio.”
👋🏾 HI, HEY, HELLO! Welcome to Supercreator Daily, the essential guide to the politicians, power brokers, and policies shaping the American creator experience. Good Tuesday morning. It’s August 8, 2023. How would you vote on State Issue 1 if you lived in Ohio?
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) received an outpouring of public support from embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel for Jeffries’s position on antisemitism. Jeffries and top House Democratic leaders condemned comments from Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) last month describing Israel as a “racist state.” “These are hectic times but also full of promise,” Netanyahu said.
Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) introduced a resolution that would recognize August as Minority Mental Health Month. The resolution would acknowledge the particular mental health challenges that minority Americans face, the barriers these communities face seeking mental health care, and the urgent need for Congress to act to improve access to and quality of care for these communities.
Sen. Sherrod Brown wrote a letter to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to declare the East Palestine derailment a disaster. The declaration would unlock additional federal resources for the ongoing clean-up efforts in the northeastern Ohio village after a freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed and burned for more than two days in February.
President Biden will sign a proclamation establishing Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni - Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument, the fifth national monument of his administration. The order will protect more than 917,000 acres of public land across three distinct areas to the south, northeast, and northwest of Grand Canyon National Park. “Native American history is American history,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said. “Our work for Indian Country is far from over. But the progress we've accomplished under President Biden is historic.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a proposed rule to implement the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act, a law Congress passed in 2022 to eliminate discrimination and ensure workplace accommodations for workers with pregnancy-related limitations. The EEOC is seeking public comment on its interpretation of specific terms in the PWFA and whether there should be more examples and for what additional different situations.
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All times Eastern
10 a.m. The Senate will meet in a pro forma session. Vice President Harris will travel from Washington, DC, to Philadelphia, arriving at 10:45 a.m.
10:30 a.m. The House will meet in a pro forma session. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will join Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, school administrators, educators, and education technology providers for a cybersecurity summit for K-12 schools.
11 a.m. President Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
12:25 p.m. The vice president will speak about infrastructure investments and announce a major initiative for workers.
1 p.m. The president will speak about conservation and climate investments.
2:10 p.m. Vice President Harris will receive an on-site briefing at the construction site of an off-ramp to I-95.
2:55 p.m. Vice President will leave Philadelphia to return to Washington, arriving at 3:45 p.m.
3:35 p.m. President Biden will participate in a lookout of the Grand Canyon.
4:20 p.m. The president will travel from Grand Canyon Village, Arizona to Albuquerque, New Mexico, arriving at 5:25 p.m.
7 p.m. President Biden will speak at a campaign fundraiser.
This should come as no surprise, but Supercreator Daily readers were into the details on Vice President Harris’s date night with the second gentleman at Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour stop in Maryland over the weekend.
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