Columbus, OH — Ohio legislators recently passed the anti-direct democracy resolution SJR2, putting a 60% supermajority threshold for future ballot measures before voters in an August special election. Immediately after the resolution 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.
The resolution in Ohio is the latest in a string of attacks on the ballot measure process. Last year, legislators in South Dakota and Arkansas attempted to implement a 60% threshold but it was rejected by voters. Arizona politicians succeeded, however, and other states including North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Arizona, Missouri, Florida, and Arkansas have seen action in their legislatures around attacking ballot measures this year alone.
See below for recent coverage of the Fairness Project and the fight to protect direct democracy across the country.
Los Angeles Times: Column: Lawmakers in states are handcuffing voters and ignoring election results
Putting up barriers to voting is bad enough, suggested Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, a progressive group. “Now it’s, ‘How can we restrict the power of those… who actually do make it to the voting booth?’” Much of the anti-democratic impulse is being driven by the abortion issue, which has been at the center of politics since Roe vs. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court last summer.
The Hill: Abortion battles fuel push against ballot measures
After a string of defeats at the ballot in red and purple states in the 2022 election, a growing number of GOP-controlled state legislatures and anti-abortion groups are pushing back. They are working to restrict or even ban citizen-led ballot initiatives, which have been used by progressive groups to bypass conservative lawmakers. Some of the proposals set new requirements for signature gathering, making it more difficult to put a question on the ballot. Others would raise the passage threshold to 60 percent or higher, rather than a simple majority.
CBS News: Ballot measures have been critical in defending abortion rights. Now, GOP politicians want to change the rules
Ohio Republicans have said the push to alter the rules surrounding constitutional amendments stems from an attempt to protect the state constitution from special-interest groups. But Kelly Hall, executive director of The Fairness Project, said the 2022 victories for abortion rights advocates are a motivating factor for GOP state lawmakers to push the changes to the ballot-measure process.
The Wall Street Journal: State Lawmakers Take Aim at Voter-Led Ballot Measures
Supporters of abortion access in states such as Missouri and Ohio are planning to put abortion-related measures on the ballot as soon as this fall… “It’s important to situate the attacks on the ballot measure process as part of the broader set of attacks on voting rights and democracy writ large,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, a nonprofit that has backed successful ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage and expand Medicaid, among other issues.