Ready, Set, NO

Churches and clergy aren’t allowed to endorse political candidates but we can advocate for issues.  Last week the CMC Leadership Team affirmed Columbus Mennonite Church joining a sign-on campaign of organizations opposed to Issue 1.    

Ohio is terribly gerrymandered, giving the slight majority of Republicans across the state a supermajority in the House and Senate.  One of the important powers Ohio voters have held since 1912 is the ability to propose constitutional amendments that become law if supported by the majority.  It’s not a great way to make laws, and it’s pretty challenging to accomplish even with a simple majority (only 19 of 71 citizen proposed amendments have ever passed), but it is an essential power to keep a non-representative Statehouse in check. 

Simply put, Issue 1 would end majority rule in Ohio.  By requiring a 60% vote to pass amendments, and inserting other sneaky things like making it nearly impossible get on the ballot due to expanded demands on signature collection, we would be a state where 41% of the electorate could block the will of 59%. 

It’s ironic that Issue 1 needs only a majority to overturn future majority votes.  It’s a troubling and cynical proposal.  Folks who value democracy, the idea of One Person One Vote, and the principle of checks and balances should reject this thing.

Set aside Tuesday, August 8 as a time to do a finger-to-touchscreen prayer and vote NO on Issue 1.  Or vote early but pray anyway on August 8.

For more background, see this article by an ACLU deputy policy director and this by the Hunger Network in Ohio