Ohio Statehouse

To the editor:

According to Article I of the Ohio Constitution, all power is inherent in the people.  Unfortunately, our legislators – or at least, nearly the entire Republican caucus of both houses – have forgotten this basic fact.

Without a hint of irony, Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman has stated that “citizens don’t always know what they want” and that we must always be on guard against the “tyranny of the majority.”  But at least Huffman understands that those who oppose the legislature’s effort to make it more difficult for the people to amend the state constitution are, in fact, a majority.

Our legislators want nothing more than to keep the people as far away from the levers of power as possible.  Consider Ohio’s most recent redistricting.  It didn’t matter that voters passed measures to reform the process in 2015 [state legislature] and 2018 [U.S. House of Representatives], or that the state’s Supreme Court ruled a series of proposed maps unconstitutional.  The legislators simply ignored the wishes of the people and the rulings of the Court and ran out the clock until it was impossible to avoid using unconstitutionally gerrymandered maps in the 2022 elections.  Those maps can only be used for four years, so there will be another round of gerrymandering before the 2026 elections.  We can be sure that our legislators do not want a more effective redistricting measure to see the light of day.

According to the August ballot measure, a 60 percent majority will be required for passage of future amendments.  [Oddly enough, the August measure can pass with a simple majority.]  A reproductive rights measure will almost certainly be on the ballot in November.  Similar measures have passed in four other states since last year’s Dobbs decision, but none of them had 60 percent support.

Perhaps more pernicious is the requirement that signatures must be obtained from five percent of the eligible voters in every one of Ohio’s 88 counties when attempting to place a measure on the ballot by initiative petition.  It is relatively easy to accomplish this in urban and suburban counties, but this is not the case in the smaller, rural counties because there are fewer places for large numbers of people to gather.

Other ballot issues, including minimum wage, recreational marijuana, and gun control, are sure to come in addition to reproductive freedom and redistricting reform, and it shouldn’t matter how you feel about any of them when deciding whether to vote for the August measure.  Someday there will be an issue you do care about, and you will regret giving up your voice as a citizen of this state. 

It's time for “we the people” to put our legislators in their place once and for all.  Vote NO on August 8.

Kurt T. Taube