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LWV League of Women Voters of Ohio Education Fund
Smart Voter
State of Ohio November 4, 2008 Election
Issue 1
To provide for earlier filing deadlines for statewide ballot issues
State of Ohio

Ammendment - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 3,392,085 / 68.67% Yes votes ...... 1,547,962 / 31.33% No votes

See Also: Index of all Issues

Information shown below: Summary | Arguments |

To amend Sections 1a, 1b, 1c, and 1g of Article II of the Constitution of the State of Ohio The proposed amendment would:
1. Require that a citizen-initiated statewide ballot issue be considered at the next general election if petitions are filed 125 days before the election.
2. Establish deadlines for boards of elections to determine the validity of citizen-initiated petitions.
3. Standardize the process for legal challenges to citizen-initiated petitions by giving the Ohio Supreme Court jurisdiction to consider these cases and establishing expedited deadlines for the Court to make decisions.

Summary Prepared by League of Women Voters:
This proposed constitutional amendment seeks to make the petition filing deadlines earlier for statewide ballot issues. Currently, the deadlines are 90 days before the election for statewide initiative petitions (laws and constitutional amendments proposed by citizens) and 60 days for statewide referendums (citizen-initiated votes to repeal new laws). The amendment would change these deadlines to 125 days for both. The proposal adds deadlines for public officials to act on the petitions. It requires the secretary of state to determine whether there are enough valid signatures on a petition by the 105th day before the election. Challenges must be filed in the Ohio Supreme Court not later than 95 days prior to the election. The Ohio Supreme Court must make its decision not later than 85 days prior to the election. If necessary, 10 additional days shall be allowed for the filing of additional signatures. The secretary of state shall check the additional signatures not later than 65 days before the election. Any challenges must be filed in the Ohio Supreme Court not later than 55 days before the election, and the court must rule on any challenges not later than 45 days before the election. If no ruling is made, the petition and signatures shall be presumed to be sufficient. The proposed amendment would give the Ohio Supreme Court sole authority to consider these cases. Currently lower courts may hear these challenges.

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Arguments For Issue 1 Arguments Against Issue 1
1. The earlier deadlines will allow more time to determine the validity of the petition and the signatures. This should reduce the number of invalid issues that appear on ballots and reduce voter confusion.
2. If deadlines are met, absentee voters and election-day voters will know which issues were supported by sufficient valid petitions.
3. The process should be more efficient because the amendment provides for specific deadlines for each step of the process.
4. Having the Ohio Supreme Court as the sole arbiter of challenges expedites the process.

1. The revised deadlines may still not allow time to print correct ballots.
2. The revised deadlines decrease the time for each step of the review and may be difficult to meet.
3. The earlier deadlines for referenda may result in long delays for voter consideration of challenged laws because laws challenged by the referendum process are suspended until approved by voters. Challengers have 90 days after a law is passed to file a referendum petition. Because this may not be completed before the filing deadline for ballot issues, a vote on the challenged law may be postponed until the following general election.
4. As sole arbiter of challenges, the Ohio Supreme Court will not have the benefit of a record from lower courts.

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Created: January 24, 2009 10:48 PST
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