Although anything is possible during Lame Duck, it looks like House Joint Resolution 19 is dead for the year. Our efforts have managed to stop this ballot-busting resolution in its tracks.
HJR19 had its sixth and final hearing Wednesday (12/12). Bill Lyons presented excellent opposing testimony in the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, and a couple of other statements against the resolution were entered into the record. There were no questions and no discussion, and, most importantly, NO VOTE.
In all the hearings, 31 individuals and groups presented opposing testimony, and only one group argued in favor of the resolution (and he represented a group that hired paid signature collectors and hasn't done a ballot measure since 2004). Our coalition also presented the Committee with a letter signed by about 90 organizations speaking out against the resolution.
In addition there have been numerous editorials in newspapers across the state speaking out against the ballot-blocking resolution, and none that have come out solidly in favor. Here’s a sampling:
Ohio may make it harder for public to put issues on statewide ballot (Dayton Daily News)
Ohio League of Women Voters among dozens of groups opposing GOP ballot issue changes (Columbus Dispatch)
Note to lawmakers - Ohioans have a constitutional right to propose ballot issues: Thomas Suddes (Cleveland.com)
Amending The Amendment Process: Ohio May Raise Bar For Ballot Issues (WOSU)
Groups coalesce to fight Ohio legislature’s constitutional amendment plan (Cleveland.com)
Although this bad idea is likely to come back again in some form next year, we are thrilled that our joint advocacy and outspokenness against this undemocratic resolution have killed it for now.
Many thanks to the advocates who showed up to present or submitted written testimony to the committee: Kathy Deitsch, Bill Lyons, Sandy Bolzenius, Bill Davis, Mary Nordstrom, Carolyn Harding, Charlotte Owen, Jackie Bird, Melanie Majikas, Michael Ahern, Greg Pace, Deborah Cooper, Emily Lampe, Catherine LaCroix, Heather Tuck-Macalla, Carrie Eickleberry, Valerie Mason, Andrea Yagoda, Barb Fleeter, Sue Dyke, Susan Haas, Maureen Welch, and Denis Osowski. Your efforts made a difference!
Thanks to all for everything you do, and all the best of the season from Fair Districts = Fair Elections.
Thank you for all of your work to protect and strengthen our democracy!
Many thanks to the army of committed volunteers who helped pass redistricting reform in Ohio! You collected enough signatures on the Fair Districts = Fair Elections ballot initiative to force legislators to the table. And then when Issue 1 went to the ballot in May, you worked hard to make sure it would pass overwhelmingly all across the state. We won by 75% of the vote. And we won in all 88 counties!
Thanks also to the hard core dedicated volunteers who spent hours, days, weeks and months in the Columbus office scanning petitions, validating signatures, and contacting voters. Without you, we won’t have had the metrics to highlight the strong support for ending gerrymandering.
Hats off to the volunteers who joined our November Election Protection program and assisted voters at polling places all across Ohio.
Thank you to those who joined in the conversation and attended screenings of “Dark Money” or other presentations across the state.
We really appreciate the folks who spoke to the press, submitted written testimony, or attended a hearing to try to stop the ballot-initiative busting House Joint Resolution 19.
And thanks to all of you who are, like us, gearing up the fights ahead to make government accountable, protect voters and elections, and rid our system of the corrupting influence of dark money. Common Cause and our allies will be working together as always, and relying on the dedication and tenacity of our valued volunteers.
For those in the central Ohio area, please join us at a holiday gathering next week:
On Wednesday, December 12 from 4:30-6:30 pm at King Ave 5, 945 King Ave, Columbus, 43212. Light appetizers will be provided, with a cash bar. RSVP HERE!
Happy Holidays! We improved democracy for years to come in 2018. A great big thank you to you all!