Ohio Initiatives Deadline Amendment, Issue 1 (2008)

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The Ohio Initiatives Deadline Amendment, also known as Issue 1, was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Ohio as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.[1] This amendment changes the deadline for submitting signatures on initiatives from 90 days pre-election to 125 days pre-election.

Election results

Ohio Issue 1 (2008)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 3,261,912 68.65%
No1,489,31131.35%

Election results via the Ohio Secretary of State.[2]

Text of measure

See also: Ohio Constitution, Article II, Section 1

The language appeared on the ballot as:[3]

PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

TO PROVIDE FOR EARLIER FILING DEADLINES FOR STATEWIDE BALLOT ISSUES

(Proposed by Joint Resolution of the General Assembly of Ohio)

To amend sections 1a, 1b, 1c, and 1g of Article II of the constitution of the state of Ohio.

The proposed amendment would:

  1. Require that a citizen-initiated statewide ballot issue be considered at the next general election if petitions are filed 125 days before the election.
  2. Establish deadlines for boards of elections to determine the validity of citizen-initiated petitions.
  3. Standardize the process for legal challenges to citizen-initiated petitions by giving the Ohio Supreme Court jurisdiction to consider these cases and establishing expedited deadlines for the Court to make decisions.
A “YES” vote means approval of the amendment.
A “NO” vote means disapproval of the amendment.

A majority YES vote is required for the amendment to be adopted.
Shall the proposed amendment be approved? [4]

Support

Arguments in favor

The following reasons were given in support of Issue 1 by a committee appointed by the Ohio Ballot Board:[3]

A YES vote on Issue 1 saves taxpayer dollars, helps build voter confidence in elections, and eases elections administration. Issue 1 makes necessary, cost-saving improvements to elections deadlines for statewide ballot issues and should be approved for the following reasons:
  • ISSUE 1 PREVENTS WASTE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS. In 2007, taxpayers paid more than $300,000 to advertise information about a ballot issue that ultimately did not qualify for the ballot. Additional expenditures were incurred by local boards of elections to verify signatures. Issue 1 helps prevent this wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars from occurring in the future by establishing firm deadlines for the administration of state ballot issues and resolving legal challenges.
  • ISSUE 1 HELPS MAINTAIN VOTER CONFIDENCE IN ELECTIONS. Only statewide issues that qualify for voter consideration should be printed on the ballot. During the last two general elections, however, litigation had not concluded at the time ballots had to be printed so voters considered issues that were ultimately not counted. Issue 1’s new deadlines helps maintain voter confidence in elections by preventing this waste from occurring.
  • ISSUE 1 PROMOTES EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE ELECTIONS. Issue 1 establishes clear timelines for filing and reviewing statewide issues petitions, and for filing legal challenges to those petitions. This helps ensure smoother and more efficient elections. By improving filing deadlines for petitions and streamlining the legal process, Issue 1 will help prevent voter confusion and promote more efficient elections.

Vote YES on Issue 1.[4]

The official ballot argument in support of Issue 1 was signed by Ohio State Representatives Jon Peterson and Dan Stewart.

Opposition

Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national organization that advocates in favor of initiatives, was opposed to Ohio Issue 1, saying that it was already too difficult to qualify measures in the state.[5]

Arguments against

The following reasons were given in opposition of Issue 1 by the Ohio Ballot Board due to the absence of any voluntary opposing submission:[3]

Issue #1 creates delays in new laws taking effect.

The Constitution reserves to the People the power to propose laws, amendments to the constitution, and to approve or reject laws passed by the legislature. Issue #1 creates earlier filing deadlines which can cause a referendum petition to effectively delay for months the effective date of a law passed by the legislature. This is because the deadline for filing a referendum petition depends on when the law being referred to the voters was passed by the legislature. If the deadline to file the petition is after the new proposed deadline in the Constitution, the law referred by the petition won’t be able to be on the ballot until the next election, which could be over a year away.

The immediate effect of the filing of a referendum petition is to stop the law from going into effect until voters decide the issue at the ballot. State Issue #1 gives people with the money to circulate petitions for hundreds of thousands of signatures increased power over the state legislature to delay laws passed from going into effect for months or even more than a year. Issue #1 means more expensive state Issue campaigns.

The delays caused by Issue #1 can be expensive.

Putting the issues off so long may mean that large amounts of money will have to be spent to get the attention of voters. Millions of dollars are already being spent for issues that are fresh in the voters’ minds. More money is likely to be spent to inform voters when the issue is stale. With these powers reserved to the People, this proposed amendment makes it even more expensive and difficult for ordinary citizens to undertake the efforts to speak through the state initiative and referendum process.

Vote no on Issue #1.[4]

The official ballot argument in opposition of Issue 1 was not signed by anyone.

See also

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