A push to amend the Ohio State Constitution to negate the electoral college came to an end after just nine days on Tuesday.
On March 21, the law firm McTigue & Colombo LLC filed two petitions with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to create a new constitutional amendment. The two petitions were for the same amendment, but contained different summaries, officially titled the “Presidential Election Popular Vote.”
The proposed constitutional Amendment “would add Article XX, Section 1 to 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.
This Amendment may result in Ohio President Electors voting for the Presidential candidate who won the national popular vote but not Ohio’s popular vote.
The amendment would ensure that in every future presidential election, the winner of the national popular vote would be guaranteed all of Ohio’s electoral votes, regardless of how the state voted. In the 2016 presidential election, President Donald Trump won 306 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 232, but she carried the popular vote by just over 3 million votes. Trump carried Ohio by almost half a million, winning all 18 electoral votes. Under the proposed amendment, all 18 votes would have automatically gone to Clinton, once the popular vote had been called for her.
On April 1, Attorney General Yost advanced the measure and set a date with the Ohio Ballot Board for review. However, on Wednesday, the legal firm withdrew its petition and called off the board meeting, providing no explanation as to why the measure was pulled.
The firm later stated that the reason it withdrew the measure was that time constraints would have prevented them from acquiring the signatures necessary to advance it. They would have needed 442,958 signatures by July 3 if they wanted the amendment placed on the ballot in November.
The bill was criticized by both sides of the political aisle, specifically for diluting and diminishing the presidential election power of the Buckeye State. When asked directly about the measure, Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine stated:
Well, I’m against that, I think that’s a stupid idea, frankly. Why would Ohio voters give up their right to make decisions about who the next president of the United States is?
Since the 2016 election, the electoral college has faced significant criticism. In a recent town hall event with CNN, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called for the entire electoral college to be scrapped in favor of a direct vote. Though there is a measure in the Democratic-controlled House to do just that, it has yet to come to a vote.
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to [email protected].
Photo “Dave Yost” by Dave Yost. Background Photo “Voting Booth” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.