A state constitutional amendment to award Ohio’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote cleared of one of its earliest hurdles this week. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost called it a “fair and truthful statement of the proposed law” in an April 1 letter to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
The amendment was submitted to Yost’s office by election lawyer Don McTigue, who sent a petition to the Attorney General’s Office with 1,000 signatures.
The petition states:
This amendment would add Article XX, Section 1 of the Ohio Constitution to:
- Express the will of the people that every vote for president be valued equally and that the candidate who wins the most votes nationally becomes President.
- Require the General Assembly, within sixty days of the Amendment’s adoption, take all necessary legislative action so that the winner of the national popular vote is elected President.
In his response, Yost said it is his “statutory duty to determine” whether the petition contained a “fair and truthful statement of the proposed law or constitutional amendment.”
With Yost ’s certification, the proposal heads to the Ohio Ballot Board, which has 10 days to determine if “the submitted ballot language only contains one proposed constitutional amendment,” Cleveland.com reports.
If it gets past the Ohio Ballot Board, then backers of the proposal would need to collect 442,928 signatures from voters in 44 of 88 counties in order for it to be placed on a statewide ballot.
A separate proposal introduced in the Ohio House by Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) would make Ohio a member of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
Under this compact, which 12 states have joined, Ohio’s entire Electoral College delegation would be awarded to the winner of the national popular vote. The agreement wouldn’t take effect until states “cumulatively possessing a majority of the electoral votes” have joined, as The Ohio Star reported.
While it’s unlikely to clear the Republican-controlled House and Senate, Leland testified on his bill before the House Federalism Committee in March.
“This is a change that is long overdue. Two-thirds of the presidents elected in this century have been chosen by the Electoral College without a corresponding majority of the electorate for their first terms,” Leland said during his testimony. “Put simply, the person the people chose to be their president in their first term was ignored 66 percent of the time in this century.”
The petition and Yost’s response can be viewed below:AG Yost Letter
Ohio Popular Vote Petition
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