Columbus, OH — Ohio legislators today passed the anti-direct democracy bill SJR2, putting a 60% supermajority threshold for future ballot measures before voters in an August special election.
Immediately after the bill passed, a citizen-led coalition of local, state, and national organizations, including the Fairness Project, announced the launch of a campaign — Vote No in August: One Person One Vote — to defeat the proposed 60% supermajority amendment in August.
In response, Fairness Project Executive Director Kelly Hall issued the following statement:
“Ohio politicians, threatened by the idea of voters being able to make progress without permission from the legislature, just passed a major power grab that should alarm anyone who stands for democratic values. Knowing that they’re on the wrong side of the public on countless issues, the General Assembly is now trying to rig the rules of the game in their own favor. What’s worse is that they are far from the first to do this — extremists in a number of states are also cracking down on the use of ballot measures ahead of the pivotal 2023 and 2024 elections.
“The Fairness Project is proud to stand with the Vote No in August: One Person One Vote campaign, and will be doing everything we can in the next three months to ensure that voters’ rights are not stripped away. Ohioans deserve to have a say in the issues that matter to them, even if it makes politicians uncomfortable. We refuse to allow a harmful system of minority rule to take root and end the long-standing, democratic tradition of citizen-initiated ballot measures in Ohio and across the country.”
This move by the legislature comes as reproductive rights advocates are gearing up to qualify a measure to enshrine reproductive freedom in the Ohio state constitution this November. Anti-abortion groups have been open about the fact that efforts to enact a supermajority threshold are intended to block such a measure. However, if the passage threshold were to be raised to 60%, it would impact all future ballot measures, not just those related to abortion — allowing a minority of voters to make decisions on crucial issues in the state.
In response to repeated attacks on direct democracy, including in states like South Dakota, Arkansas, Ohio and more, the Fairness Project has been fighting to defend the ballot measure process and ensure citizens can use this critical tool for years to come. Since last year, the Fairness Project has organized over $5.6 million to fight back through its Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign.
If you would like to interview Kelly Hall, Executive Director of the Fairness Project, please email email@example.com.