Ohio Citizen Action

Should we go to the ballot? Technical requirements for a citizens’ ballot initiative in Ohio and five political keys to victory

CLEVELAND — Under the right circumstances, a ballot issue campaign can be a powerful tactic, changing or even reversing the tide of an issue, creating new law and a new political mandate in one stroke. Under the wrong circumstances, it can be a setback.

Anyone contemplating a ballot drive should treat it with the respect it deserves. Make it your business to know the history of ballot issues and the applicable provisions of the law, and think carefully through every aspect of the proposed campaign.  It is sobering to consider that many signature drives fall short of qualifying for the ballot, and that most issues that do make the ballot are defeated.  Since 1950, 48 constitutional amendments, statutes and referenda have been proposed by petition; only 25% of them have won the support of Ohio voters. Looking just at constitutional amendments proposed by petition since 1913, of 69 put to the voters, only 18 have won. That’s a 26% success rate.

— Paul Ryder, Assistant Director, Ohio Citizen Action