Aug 29, 2022 - News

šŸ—³ļø November's state ballot issues

Illustration of a row of voting booths casting long shadows, the side of the booth reads "VOTE" with a checkmark as the V.
Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

Ohioans are expected to vote on bail reform and voting rights this November.

Driving the news: Last week, the Ohio Ballot Board approved the wording of both constitutional amendments placed on the ballot by Republican majorities in the state Legislature.

  • Opponents have until this week to challenge the measures at the Ohio Supreme Court, per Cleveland.com, but it's unclear if this will happen.
Issue 1

What it does: Removes the Ohio Supreme Court's authority on determining bail and requires courts to consider public safety when setting it.

Background: The state Supreme Court recently ruled public safety shouldn't be a factor in setting cash bail ā€” it should instead focus on ensuring attendance in court.

Catch up quick: Bail reform advocates have long argued that cash bail disproportionately impacts poor defendants and keeps them in jail despite a constitutional presumption of innocence.

What they're saying: "Fear of future crime is not justification to use financial means to deny a person their constitutional right to bail," Blaise Katter, the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' public policy chair, told lawmakers during testimony.

The other side: Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and other prosecutors support the amendment.

  • "The presumption of innocence in court does not require the pretense that a career criminal is harmless on the streets," Yost testified.
Issue 2

What it does: Requires Ohio voters to be 18 years old and registered to vote for at least 30 days before an election to cast a ballot.

State of play: The Ohio Constitution already requires this, but state law lets individual communities expand local voting rights.

  • Only one does: Yellow Springs passed a 2020 charter amendment to allow non-U.S. citizens to vote in village elections.
  • No noncitizen has actually registered to vote there since it passed, per the Legislative Service Commission.

Nonetheless, Secretary of State Frank LaRose joined GOP lawmakers in taking up the cause.

  • LaRose has called voting a right earned only by "birth or the oath of citizenship."
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Columbus.

šŸŒ±

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Columbus stories

No stories could be found

Columbuspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Columbus.

šŸŒ±

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more