August election coming for constitutional amendment
Hear ye, all citizens. There will be a “pop-up” election on Tuesday, Aug. 8, and you will need to be ready to vote (by absentee ballot or in person) beginning July 9, 2023. The Ohio Legislature voted 62-37 on Wednesday, May 10, to submit this proposal to the electorate this year. even though the same body had voted at the end of last year to eliminate August elections statewide.
This single-issue election will present voters with a proposed constitutional amendment that would change the requirements for citizen-led proposals for amendments. It would increase the percentage of valid voter signatures needed from the current 50%-plus-one of total registered voters to 60% and would also require that signatures be collected from all 88 counties. (The current requirement is for petition signatures to be submitted from at least 44 of the 88 counties and be equal to at least 5 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor in that county at the last gubernatorial election.)
The add-on election is estimated to cost an additional $20 million in the current state budget. It also adds considerably to the workload of the Boards of Election statewide, since many municipalities (including Bay Village) will have primary elections only a month later, Sept. 12, 2023.
The rules and deadlines for becoming a registered voter changed earlier this year, requiring specific kinds of photo IDs for voting in person and tightening the deadlines for requesting and returning absentee ballots. Voters who prefer to vote absentee must personally request an absentee ballot as they will not be sent automatically to all registered voters. For complete details on voter registration rules, visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections at boe.cuyahogacounty.gov.
Kathy Woolner and Nadia Zaiem
Co-Chairs, Westlake-North Olmsted Chapter, League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland