Former Ohio Republican leaders unite: Kasich, Taft, Montgomery, and Petro rally against Issue 1

Issue 1, a ballot initiative that has taken over the Ohio political scene, has gained opposition support from former Ohio Republican Governors John Kasich and Bob Taft, and former Ohio Republican Attorney Generals Betty Montgomery and Jim Petro.

Introduced by Ohio House Republicans earlier this year, Issue 1 seeks to end a simple majority rule and raise the threshold for amending the state’s constitution to 60%. 

The primary sponsors of Issue 1 have been Ohio House and Senate Republicans, who have spent $20 million for the state to be able to conduct the upcoming August special election, where Ohioans will decide the ballot initiative’s fate.

August special elections in Ohio have had a historically low turnout. Many in opposition to Issue 1 have seen the push for the ballot initiative to be voted on in August as a way to better the odds of Issue 1 passing.

“Such a dramatic change in the Ohio Constitution should not be accomplished in an extremely low turnout election,” Taft said in a statement in July. “This is a very major change.”

Kasich, Taft, Montgomery, and Petro want Ohioans to know that not all Republicans support Issue 1. They are for every Ohioan having an equal chance to participate in Ohio’s democracy.

“Ohio is stronger when we can all lend our voices, and we all have an equal chance to participate in the work of our state’s democracy,” Kasich said in a statement in April. “I’ve experienced that firsthand, having policies backed by myself and a majority of the legislature’s members overturned at the ballot box, and it never occurred to me to try to limit Ohioans’ right to do that. It wouldn’t have been right then, and it isn’t right now.”

Their support joins a coalition of over 200 Ohio groups opposing Issue 1.

Ohio’s history of proposed amendments shows that many amendments to the constitution passed between the 51-59% threshold—with very few reaching 60%.

“If the increase in the passing percentage had been in effect, many important amendments that are part of our political heritage would have failed,” Montgomery and Petro said in a joint statement in April. “Including the initiative and referendum, home rule, civil service reform, the Clean Ohio Fund, the Third Frontier Project, and other important bond issues to support economic development, conservation, and housing.” Montgomery and Petro said in a joint statement in April.

Election day is August 8. Learn more about the election here.