Issue 1 is a proposed constitutional amendment that seeks to raise the threshold for passing all future constitutional amendments from a simple majority to 60%.
As we approach the August 8th special election– what I regard as a costly and egregious Republican power grab– it is crucial for the Black community in Dayton to consider the potential consequences of the only voting item on the ballot: Issue 1. Issue 1 is a desperate, last-ditch effort to change how Ohio voters can organize to amend the Ohio State Constitution, and all things considered, we must vote no. While it is important to ensure a fair and transparent democratic process, this amendment risks stifling our voices and impeding progress on a range of critical issues.
Issue 1 aims to introduce new legal guidelines for the process of amending the state constitution, potentially limiting the power of grassroots organizations and disenfranchising communities that have historically needed to fight for justice and equity. At question are new requirements to gather a statutorily designated number of signatures in all of Ohio’s 88 counties instead of just half, as well as a 60% voting threshold to approve constitutional amendments at the ballot box, as opposed to a 50% + 1 majority.
These new stringent parameters lay waste to over 100 years of ballot initiated constitutional amendment precedent. Looking ahead to the referendums in November, we must recognize the profound impact they will have on the Black community and vote no on Issue 1. Reproductive healthcare and choice is crucial for Black women, who we know face disproportionate risks in pregnancy and childbirth.
And while we don’t all agree on the issue of recreational marijuana, we understand the criminal justice implications of bringing marijuana from the shadows of our streets to the open light of government regulation. By altering the process through which we can amend the state constitution, Issue 1 threatens our ability to effectively address these critical issues and protect our community's interests. Issue 1 also threatens to upend future organizing such as allowing municipalities to raise the minimum wage and ending qualified immunity for police who have abused their authority.
In addition to voting no on important ballot measures like Issue 1, we should also rally behind leaders who prioritize these concerns and work tirelessly to uplift our community. My campaign for Dayton City Commission is organizing an Issue 1 Canvassing Countdown from July 29 - August 7 centering Dayton's West Side neighborhoods and we would be honored to have you join us. It will be an opportunity for us to unite, amplify our voices, and bring about positive change in our community while informing our neighbors to vote no on Issue 1.
As we consider the implications of Issue 1, let us remember the legacy of those who fought tirelessly for our civil rights and voting rights. We owe it to them and to future generations to preserve our ability to effect change through democratic processes that are inclusive and representative of our community's diverse voices. We must be vigilant in safeguarding our democratic rights and ensuring that our community remains empowered to address the pressing challenges we face. While thoughtful and responsible constitutional reform is necessary,Issue 1 does not strike the right balance. Instead, it threatens to impede our progress and hinder our ability to influence policies that directly affect our lives.
In conclusion, Issue 1 in Ohio's special election on August 8 jeopardizes our democratic voice and threatens our ability to address crucial issues facing the Black community. By recognizing the significance of the upcoming referendums and supporting leaders like Marcus Bedinger for Dayton City Commission, we can ensure our concerns are heard and our interests are protected. Let us stand united, vote thoughtfully, and safeguard the democratic progress that has been hard-won by our community.
This article was submitted by Marcus Bedinger, Candidate for Dayton City Commission.