COLUMBUS, Ohio — Last year, House Joint Resolution 6 was a hot topic at the Ohio Statehouse.
In 2023, the resolution which would make it harder for voters to amend the state constitution has slipped back into talks. At this time, it does not have an assigned resolution number. However, it has made its way back to the Clerk's Office for review.
This proposal has slight changes compared to 2022's version.
What You Need To Know
- A new version of a resolution hindering voting rights could be introduced this year
- This would require a signature collection in all 88 counties compared to 44 across Ohio.
- It would also get rid of a cure period
This time around, the resolution would require proposed amendments to have signatures collected in all 88 counties instead of just 44 across Ohio.
Catherine Turcer, who is the Executive Director of Common Cause Ohio, told Spectrum News this new version of the proposal could make it harder for Ohioans to get their amendment on the ballot.
"This is taking the power out of the hands of voters," Turcer said. "Basically tying their hands behind their backs and putting the power in the hands of the legislature."
This new proposed resolution has slightly different requirements. There is a new deadline, where people would not have a cure period. At the moment, an individual seeking to get a citizen-led amendment has an extra 10 days to receive signatures from community members.
"Things can just go wrong," Turcer said. "There's a process where you might need to challenge those signatures. It just seems like a real attack on our ability to self-govern."
The Ohio Secretary of State's Office told Spectrum News they feel positive about the resolution.
“The secretary strongly feels changes in something as significant as our state constitution should require a broad consensus for approval," said Rob Nichols, the Ohio Secretary of State's press secretary. "We believe the best way to do that is by increasing the threshold necessary for passage, but we’re open to other ideas if they achieve the same result.”
The current proposal would set a 60% threshold for amendments to be approved by voters, instead of a simple majority.
"If a 60% threshold had been required in previous decades, Ohio may never have been able to deliver many essential programs for the citizens that we now take for granted," said Mike Curtin, Former State Representative for Ohio's 17th District (D).
He also said gathering signatures could become a major challenge.
"To require folks to go to all 88 counties to gather numbers equal to 5% of the registered voters from the last gubernatorial election would put real grassroots folks pretty much out of business," Curtin said.
Spectrum News reached out to the office of State Representative Brian Stewart (R-Ashville), who is proposing the resolution, and they told us because it hasn't received a resolution number yet, they would not be commenting at this time