Black man voting

Today, the coalition of civil rights organizations fighting for access and full participation of Black voters and other voting rights advocacy organizations behind the Ohio Voters Bill of Rights ballot amendment filed a legal challenge to AG Dave Yost’s unauthorized rejection of their proposal. The complaint requests that the Ohio Supreme Court issue a writ of mandamus directing the Attorney General to certify their petition, citing his clear lack of authority to opine on the proposed title, let alone reject it entirely based on his subjective distaste for it – a decision that impacts millions of Ohioans’ ability to cast a ballot.

The coalition released the following statement about their legal challenge:

“The latest rejection of our proposed ballot summary from AG Yost’s office is nothing but a shameful abuse of power to stymie the right of Ohio citizens to propose amendments to the Ohio Constitution.

Our formal legal challenge follows the assertion earlier this month in our resubmission that the AG does not have the legal authority to review the title of the proposed amendment at all. The law is clear – the AG’s role at this point in the process is solely to determine whether the summary is a fair and truthful reflection of the full amendment text. 

AG Yost doesn’t have the authority to comment on our proposed title, let alone the authority to reject our petition altogether based on the title alone. In fact, just last year, AG Yost acknowledged that his role in approving petition language is narrowly limited to determining whether the title and summary language are “fair and truthful.”

Despite the AG’s dismissive rebuff, our amendment is, quite literally, a bill of rights for Ohio’s voters that will establish a more equitable path to the ballot box for all of us. It’s a name that reflects the full text of the amendment, which establishes that voting is a fundamental right and provides expanded rights to early in-person voting, automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, and no-excuse absentee voting. It also reflects our work in the last decade to qualify this exact type of amendment for the ballot.

We remain undeterred from working towards our ultimate north star goal to enshrine and protect the full power of our votes in our state constitution. Black and brown Ohioans have been leading this fight for our fundamental voting rights throughout history. All Ohioans – no matter their race – have only benefited from their efforts to protect our most basic freedoms. 

We are unwavering in our commitment to move this critical effort forward because something must be done to address the reality of Ohio’s nearly 2.7 million missing voters sitting on the sidelines of our democracy due to discriminatory barriers to the ballot box. This legal challenge is the latest iteration of our righteous fight for our vote.”


About The Coalition

The Ohio Voters Bill of Rights amendment is supported by a growing coalition of organizations and individuals who are united in their commitment to build a democracy and voting system in our state that works for all of us. Our coalition includes organizations at the forefront of fighting for the full power of our votes in Ohio for more than a decade, including the Ohio Chapter of the NAACP, the Ohio Unity Coalition, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative.