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Ohio Issue 5, State Election Board Act (2005)

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The Ohio State Election Board Amendment, also known as Issue 5, was on the November 8, 2005 ballot in Ohio as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.[1] This amendment would have created a newly-appointed board to administer elections in the state. The authority to administer elections would have been removed from the Ohio Secretary of State.

Election results

Ohio Issue 5 (2005)
Defeatedd No2,001,98370.08%
Yes 854,918 29.92%

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

Text of measure

See also: Ohio Constitution, Article XVII

The language appeared on the ballot as:[3]

(Proposed by Initiative Petition)

To adopt Section 4 of Article XVII of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.

To create a newly appointed board to administer elections, this amendment would:

  • Eliminate responsibility of the elected Ohio Secretary of State to oversee elections.
  • Create an appointed board of nine members to administer statewide elections and oversee the existing county boards of elections.
  • Provide that the members of the board are appointed as follows: four by the governor, four by the members of the general assembly affiliated with the political party that is not the same as that of the governor, and one by a unanimous vote of the chief justice and justices of the Ohio Supreme Court. The member appointed by the Supreme Court may not be affiliated with a political party. The governor and members of the general assembly must appoint equal numbers of men and women and take into consideration the geographic regions and racial diversity of the state. Members would serve staggered nine-year terms. Members may not hold any elective or other appointive public office, be a candidate for public office, hold a position with a political party, or be a registered lobbyist, and would be prohibited from making or soliciting political contributions and being involved in a candidate or ballot issue campaign.
  • Require the state board of elections supervisors to hire an administrative director, to prescribe uniform procedures to be followed by the county boards of elections, to appoint and remove members of the county boards of elections in accordance with statutory provisions, to certify the petitions of candidates for statewide offices and petitions for statewide ballot issues, to certify all equipment and systems used for voting and counting of votes, to approve ballot language for all statewide issues, and to maintain a statewide voter registration file.
  • Require the General Assembly to set a reasonable level of compensation for the members of the state board of elections supervisors and to appropriate sufficient funds for the board to be able to fully perform it duties and to compensate such staff and to acquire such equipment, supplies and office space as necessary for such performance.
A majority yes vote is necessary for passage.

Shall the proposed amendment be adopted? [4]


Arguments in favor

The following reasons were given in support of Issue 4 by Reform Ohio Now:[3]

Vote YES to create a bi-partisan and independent state board of elections supervisors to administer elections similar to the county boards of elections.

In recent elections, public confidence in the fairness of the election process has been undermined by actions of the Secretary of State. Citizens need to have trust and confidence restored in their electoral system.

Issue 5 will restore public confidence by replacing the Secretary of State as the state’s chief elections officer with a bi-partisan board of elections supervisors similar to the local county boards of elections. If a bi-partisan system is good enough for all 88 counties, it should be good enough for Ohio as a whole.

Issue 5 will lessen partisanship in the administration of elections in Ohio at the state level.

Issue 5 will prevent those who are involved in administering elections at the state level from mixing personal political agendas with their public duties.

Issue 5 will create a bi-partisan board with 9 appointed members—4 appointed by the Governor, 4 appointed by Members of the General Assembly of the opposite party and one member appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Issue 5 will not create another layer of bureaucracy in State government. Money now used for this service could be transferred to the state board of elections.

Issue 5 will not replace the bi-partisan county boards of elections that currently administer and will continue to administer elections at the local level.





Arguments against

The following reasons were given in opposition of Issue 5 by the Committee to Provide Argument Against Issue 5:[3]

Vote No on Issue 5 for the following reasons.
  • First, the proposed amendment would effectively end the local control over Ohio elections that is currently exercised by our bipartisan county elections boards.
  • Second, the proposed amendment would create a new statewide elections board that would consist of members who are politically appointed for 9-year terms, and would never be accountable to Ohio voters.
  • Third, the proposed amendment would eliminate the role of Ohio’s Secretary of State in Ohio’s election system. The new statewide board of political appointees would replace our elected Secretary of State. The proponents of this amendment clearly distrust the ability of Ohio voters to choose a public official to be in charge of Ohio’s election system.
  • Fourth, the proposed amendment would essentially give the appointed elections board a “blank check” to spend any and all tax dollars that it desires even if taxes would need to be raised to pay for it. The proposed amendment does not explain why it is necessary to give this group of political appointees the power to spend unlimited amounts of tax dollars, without being accountable to Ohio voters or elected Ohio public officials.

For all of these reasons,



See also

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