Long Term Consequences
Rarely has an odd-numbered year been as important for defending our rights as 2023. Politics is usually less intense in odd-numbered years. However, in 2023 we must cast votes which will have very long-term consequences for the rights of Ohioans.
Vote No On Issue 1
Early voting in the August 8 special election on State Issue 1 will have started by the time you read this. As I have described in previous columns, State Issue 1 is Ohio Republicans’ effort to make our state constitution the exclusive preserve of those with huge amounts of money.
If passed, Issue 1 will prevent amendments to our Ohio Constitution not proposed by the General Assembly from reaching the ballot unless petitions are filed containing a set number of signatures by registered voters in each one of Ohio’s 88 counties. Currently, signatures are only required from 44 counties. Under Issue 1, one signature less than the minimum in just one county will mean Ohioans do not get a vote, no matter how many Ohioans in the other 87 counties want the issue on the ballot.
Only extraordinarily wealthy organizations will be able to hire enough signature gatherers to spend time getting signatures in every county in the State. If an amendment makes it onto the ballot, Issue 1 would prohibit the amendment from being adopted unless it receives a 60% affirmative vote. Currently, passage only requires a simple majority (50% of the vote plus one vote). Only very wealthy organizations will be able to afford the media campaign in every market in Ohio that would be necessary to have a realistic chance of getting a 60% yes vote.
Grass roots organizations representing ordinary Ohioans will have no chance of getting amendments onto the ballot for Ohioans to vote on. This is particularly egregious since a constitutional amendment is the only method available to Ohioans to put things into Ohio law that are not on the far-right agenda of the gerrymandered Republican majority in the General Assembly. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of defeating Issue 1.
What You Can Do
Vote NO on Issue 1!
As I said, early voting has started. You can vote in person at the Clermont County Board of Elections in Batavia. Early voting hours are:
July 11-14: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
July 17-21: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
July 24-28: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
July 31: 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
August 1: 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
August 2-4: 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
August 5: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
August 6: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Remember that Ohio has done away with early voting on the day before the election. You will not be able to vote early on Monday, August 7. You can also vote by mail. The procedures for obtaining and returning what is called an “absentee ballot” are at boe.clermontcountyohio.gov/voter_info/voting/absentee_voting.php. Of course, you can also vote at your polling place on August 8. Remember, Ohio now requires that you have a government-issued photo ID to vote early in person or on election day.
Spread The Word
Get your family and friends to vote NO on Issue 1. This will be a low turnout election. Republicans are holding an August special election on Issue 1 (at a cost of around $ 25 million statewide) in the hope that a small number of votes will pass it. Every single NO vote matters!
If you can, we need to knock on doors to get people to vote NO. Doors are being knocked in parts of the County. We still need people to go out in Batavia Village and Township, Ohio Township, Pierce Township, and Union Township. This effort focuses on getting Democrats out to vote, so you are unlikely to encounter anyone hostile. If you can help, please contact me. My contact information is printed below.
Another way we can get the word out is with signs. I have a few Vote NO yard signs which we need to get up in the southern part of the County. If you live in southern Clermont County and have traffic going by your yard, contact me for a yard sign. You can reach me by phone at 513-236-5426 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On November 7, 2023, we will be electing people to serve on our local school boards, our city and village councils, and as township trustees and township fiscal officers. The deadline to file petitions to run for these offices is 4:00 p.m. on August 9, 2023. Petitions must be filed at the Board of Elections in Batavia.
Serving in one of these local offices is an excellent way to serve your community. The right is targeting these local offices. Voters in our school districts, municipalities, and townships deserve the opportunity to vote for people for these offices who will stand up against the irrational far right agenda.
These elections are non-partisan, meaning candidates do not identify as Democrat or Republican. Campaigning for these offices is relatively inexpensive. The geographic areas in which candidates need to campaign are small. Running for office in November is a great opportunity to do something very meaningful. However, you do need to file that petition by 4:00 p.m. on August 9. Please contact me or the Clermont County Democratic Party if you want more information.
You may have heard that petitions containing over 700,000 signatures were filed on July 5 to put the Reproductive Freedom amendment on the November ballot. Many people circulated those petitions all over Ohio and all over Clermont County. Those people deserve our thanks. Their efforts will likely give Ohioans the right to choose in November to allow Ohioans to make their own decisions about their reproductive health instead of having those decisions dictated by the Republicans in Columbus. Thank you.
Of course, for the Reproductive Freedom amendment to pass in November, we must defeat Issue 1 in August. Vote NO on Issue 1!