Return to News May 24, 2023

One Person One Vote Campaign, Ohio Voters File Legal Challenge Against Proposed Ballot Language for August Special Election

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On May 23, Elias Law Group attorneys representing several Ohio voters and One Person One Vote, filed a new lawsuit challenging the ballot title and language for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution. The proposed amendment, which would drastically revise the requirements that citizens must meet in order to amend the state constitution, including raising the threshold to pass constitutional amendments from 50% to 60%, is currently slated to go before Ohio voters for approval in an August 8 special election. One Person One Vote is a citizen-driven grassroots coalition dedicated to preserving majority rule in Ohio, and together with the individual voters bringing this action, seeks to protect the direct democracy rights that Ohio voters have been guaranteed for over 100 years.

This lawsuit challenges the recent decision by Secretary of State Frank LaRose and the Ballot Board he chairs “to adopt a misleading, prejudicial ballot title and inaccurate, incomplete ballot language” that threatens to mislead voters into supporting the amendment. One Person One Vote argues that the ballot title and language adopted by Secretary and the Ballot Board are full of material omissions and misleading statements that are part of a calculated effort to deceive Ohio voters, so that they may agree to vote away their direct democracy rights. Elias Law Group is also representing One Person One Vote and Ohio voters in a separate lawsuit filed earlier this month to challenge the legality of the August special election at which the Secretary intends to submit the amendment to the voters.  

“The Ohio General Assembly, Ohio Ballot Board, and Secretary of State Frank LaRose are attempting to mislead Ohio voters into approving the Legislature’s cynical efforts to hamstring Ohio’s long-standing direct democracy process,” said Elias Law Group Counsel Emma Olson Sharkey. “Apparently recognizing that Ohio voters are not likely to willingly give up their right to amend the state constitution by simple majority vote, Secretary LaRose and the Ballot Board are trying to rig the process by providing voters with ballot language rife with material omissions, misleading statements, and clear inaccuracies. Considering this tactic alongside the push to present this ballot measure to Ohio voters at an unlawful, low-turnout August special election, it is clear that Secretary LaRose and the General Assembly know just how unpopular this proposal is. The Court should not allow the Secretary and the Ballot Board to mislead voters and should require them to be honest about the amendment they are asking the voters to approve.”

The lawsuit asks the Ohio Supreme Court to direct the Ohio Ballot Board to “reconvene and prescribe lawful ballot language for the Amendment,” and direct Secretary LaRose to “prescribe a lawful ballot title for the Amendment, meaning that the title must not use words or phrases that are likely to mislead electors about the Amendment’s scope or create prejudice in favor of the Amendment.”

Read the complaint here.