Dan Tokaji's Blog
Professor Dan Tokaji
Election reform, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and related topics -- with special attention to the voting rights of people of color, non-English proficient citizens, and people with disabilities

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Equal Vote
Sunday, November 6
Will the Reform Ohio Now Measures Pass?
On Tuesday, Ohioans will be voting on four constitutional amendments designed to improve the state's election system. Issue 2 would institute no-fault absentee voting. Issue 3 would impose campaign contribution limits, reversing the legislature's action last year which quadrupled limits to state candidates. Issue 4 would create an independent redistricting commission, which would be required to draw competitive election districts. Issue 5 would create an independent election administration commission, to take over the duties now served by the Secretary of State. More information on the four measures can be found here, on the Election Law @ Moritz website, which also includes links to both sides' websites.

Issues 4 and 5 are particularly worth watching, since they address issues that have assumed national prominence in recent years. Issue 4 seeks to deal with the problem of legislators drawing "safe" districts to protect themselves, the consequence of which has been for there to be very few districts that are competitive. Issue 5 seeks to stop state chief election officials performing their duties in a manner that benefits their own party, a concern that emerged in Florida five years ago and in Ohio last year. What happens with respect to both of these initiatives could have nationwide implications, especially since they represent novel approaches to problems that have attracted attention in a number of states.

What's not at all clear is whether any or all of these measures will pass. A recent poll by the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron found stronger support for Issues 2 and 3, than for Issues 4 and 5 (both of which were supported by less than 44% of "likely voters"). But these estimates should be taken with a grain of salt, given that it's difficult to predict who will actually turn out in this off-year election. The Bliss poll found that a majority of "aware citizens" supported both measures. It's thus conceivable that a lower turnout could actually mean that these measures have a greater chance of passing.

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Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University