Ohio’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that Republican lawmakers’ planned election in August could make it harder for abortion rights supporters to amend the state constitution.
Ballot measure in August election will allow voters to decide whether to raise critical point A 60% approval rating is required for future state constitutional amendments. For now, only the majority is needed.
this ruling In a blow to reproductive rights advocates, they sued to cancel the election. These supporters point out that the Ohio Republican — just earlier this year — made different laws there is effective scrubbing Most special elections are held in August on the state’s calendar, after officials said they were too expensive and with low turnout to be worth the effort.
In their lawsuit, reproductive rights advocates questioned why the standards changed so quickly and so dramatically. Republicans in the state legislature have only reversed course on the issue, they suggest, because the threshold measure, if passed in August, could block approval in November of a proposed amendment to add abortion rights to the state constitution.
But in its 4-3 decision, the state Supreme Court’s conservative majority sided with Republican lawmakers.the court ruled The August 8 elections are fully legal and constitutional, and lawmakers have the freedom and leeway to organize them.
The August election will also let voters decide whether groups trying to enact a ballot measure must obtain voter signatures in all 88 Ohio counties, rather than the 44 counties now required.
While the measure doesn’t explicitly mention abortion, abortion rights groups argue its structure and timing are designed to thwart the state’s efforts to secure abortion rights.
If the threshold measure passes in August, an amendment introduced in November to grant abortion rights would need 60 percent of voters to pass. If it loses in August, it only needs a majority.
Republicans began planning for the August election last month, just weeks after reproductive rights groups in the state cleared several key hurdles in their path to passing the abortion measure on the November ballot.
Some Republican supporters — including Ohio Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose — insisted that holding an August special election wasn’t worth tens of millions of dollars.
“These unnecessary off-cycle elections are not good for taxpayers, election officials or the health of our state’s citizens. It’s time for them to go,” said LaRose, who may run for U.S. Senate in 2024. testify at legislative hearings late last year.
But earlier this month, News5 ClevelandA local Ohio TV station found a clip of LaRose saying in May that the effort to raise the threshold was “100 percent about keeping the radical abortion amendment out of our Constitution.”
After that story, LaRose spokesman Rob Nichols defended his reversal, telling News5 Cleveland and other media outlets that the secretary of state “keeps saying we need to raise the bar to change our state constitution, whether it’s health care, the minimum wage, the casinos. Or any other special interest agenda.”
Raising the bar for passage of any future constitutional amendment would mark a major shift in state procedures — since 1912, Ohio has practiced the simple majority required to pass proposed constitutional amendments.
Meanwhile, a proposed November abortion amendment seeks to counteract Ohio’s “heartbeat bill,” which snap into place Last summer, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
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