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Measure Details

To Provide for Earlier Filing Deadlines for Statewide Ballot Issues

Ohio Ballot Measure - Issue 1

Election: General Nov. 4, 2008 (General)
Outcome: Passed

Categories:
Campaign Finance and Elections
Constitution

Summary

To amend sections 1a, 1b, 1c, and 1g of article II of the constitution of the state of Ohio

Purpose: The Ohio Constitution and corresponding state laws describe the processes that electors themselves can undertake to propose amendments to the constitution, to establish state laws, and to submit to the voters for their approval or rejection laws recently enacted by the Ohio General Assembly. People who seek to initiate these processes must abide by constitutional and statutory deadlines. The purpose of Amended House Joint Resolution Number 3 (HJR 3) is to change the filing deadlines for statewide ballot initiatives and referendums (sometimes called "statewide issues").

HJR 3 Would Change Statewide Issue Petition Filing Deadlines: Most statewide issues are submitted to the electors to vote upon at a regular or general election. In order for an issue to be placed on the ballot, it must be filed with the secretary of state's office as a petition signed by a substantial amount of supporters. Currently, petitions for proposed constitutional amendments and state laws must be filed at least 90 days before the election at which the issue is to be submitted to the electors. Referendum petitions must be filed at least 60 days before the election at which the issue is to be submitted.

HJR 3 would require that petitions for all statewide issues brought by electors be filed 125 days before the election at which the issue is to be submitted to the electors. This means that people who seek to file a petition proposing a constitutional amendment or a state law or a referendum petition must do so earlier than they currently are required.

Passing HJR 3 also would mean that people who seek a referendum on any law that passes between 215 and 125 days before an upcoming regular or general election will have 90 days or less to undertake the entire referendum process if they want to ensure the placement of the issue on the ballot for the upcoming election. Any referendum petition filed after the 125-day deadline must be placed on the ballot at the regular or general election that occurs over a year later.

HJR 3 Would Change Deadlines for Verifying and Challenging the Petition: Statewide issue petitions must be signed by many electors. The secretary of state's office and the county boards of elections check those signatures to make sure they are valid and sufficient. HJR 3 would require the secretary of state to determine if there are enough valid signatures on the petition to qualify it for placement on the ballot by the 105th day before the election.

Sometimes, however, people challenge the statewide petition and signatures on the petition. HJR 3 gives the Supreme Court of Ohio the sole authority to hear these challenges. HJR 3 also requires all challenges to be filed not later than 95 days before the election and that the Court must rule on any challenges not later than 85 days before the election. In addition, under the new amendment, if no ruling is made stating that the petition or signatures are insufficient by the 85-day deadline, the signatures are presumed to be sufficient in all respects. If there is a ruling that the petition or signatures are insufficient and additional signatures are provided, HJR 3 would require the secretary of state to determine whether those additional signatures are sufficient not later than 65 days before the election.

Challenges can be made on those additional signatures, but such challenge must be filed not later than 55 days before the day of the election. The Court must make a ruling on the additional signatures not later than 45 days before the election. Otherwise, the petition and the signatures will be presumed to be sufficient in all respects.

If approved, this proposed amendment will be effective immediately.

Measure Text

To amend sections 1a, 1b, 1c, and 1g of article II of the constitution of the state of Ohio

The proposed amendment would:

Require that a citizen-initiated statewide ballot issue be considered at the next general election if petitions are filed 125 days before the election.

Establish deadlines for boards of elections to determine the validity of citizen-initiated petitions.

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.

A "YES" vote means approval of the amendment.
A "NO" vote means disapproval of the amendment.

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