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Voting begins on changing how Ohio Constitution is amended

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(The Center Square) – Voting begins today on a proposed amendment that could make it more difficult for citizens to change Ohio’s constitution.

Early voting continues through Aug. 6 for the Aug. 8 special election the legislature set after the Republican-led effort passed a 60-vote threshold by only two votes in the House. Gov. Mike DeWine recently signed included $15 million to cover the cost of the single-issue election.

That comes less than a year after lawmakers passed and DeWine signed into law a bill that banned special elections in the state.

The proposed constitutional amendment would require a 60% vote of the people to pass any citizen-led constitutional amendment. Voters would need only meet a 50%-plus-one threshold to approve the change to 60%.

If passed, the amendment will be effective immediately.

Several business groups voiced their support of the potential amendment, while a coalition of Black organizations is mobilizing against the proposal.

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Ohio Restaurant Association and the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association say the change is needed to stop amendments from passing based on short-lived public opinion.

The Ohio Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the Ohio Unity Coalition called the plan an attempt by lawmakers to give more power to “no” votes rather than “yes” votes.

Citizen-led groups pushing for abortion rights and legalized recreational marijuana each delivered signatures to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose last week to move a step closer to being on the November ballot.

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