Ohio Constitutional Amendment Threshold Challenge
One Person One Vote v. LaRose
Petition filed by individual Ohio voters and One Person One Vote, a coalition representing Ohio voters, challenging an August election on Senate Joint Resolution 2, a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would increase the threshold to pass constitutional amendments from 50% to 60%. As laid out by the resolution, Ohio voters will vote on whether or not to adopt this higher threshold in a special election set for Aug. 8, 2023. In their petition filed against Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R), the voters ask the state Supreme Court to remove S.J.R. 2 from the Aug. 8, 2023 special election ballot, alleging that the August election violates both state law and the state constitution. The petitioners assert that the “General Assembly’s attempt to put the Amendment before the people in a low-turnout August special election is unlawful.” The voters argue that Ohio law prescribes an “unambiguous schedule” for elections, specifically limiting special elections on constitutional amendments, such as S.J.R. 2, to either take place during general elections in November or during primary elections in March or May. However, Ohio law does not permit “statewide August elections for any purpose,” the petition emphasizes. Additionally, the petition notes that the Legislature would have needed to enact a statute specifically authorizing the Aug. 8 election for the purpose of submitting S.J.R. 2 to Ohio voters, but it failed to do so. The Ohio voters ultimately ask the state Supreme Court to issue a writ of mandamus (a court order) prohibiting LaRose from holding an allegedly unlawful special election regarding S.J.R. 2 on Aug. 8, 2023.