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Ohio Could Join 11 States Requiring Supermajority To Approve Constitutional Amendments

Issue 1 on August 8th ballot would establish 60% vote requirement, tying Ohio with Florida
 COLUMBUS, OH - MAY 16: Franklin County Memorial Hall on May 16, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Eleven states require more than a simple majority to approve a constitutional amendment. Ohio could become the 12th.

On August 8, Ohio voters will decide Issue 1, a state constitutional amendment that would establish a 60% vote requirement to approve future state constitutional amendments. If approved, Ohio would become the 12th state to require more than a simple majority to approve a constitutional amendment. 

Some states set higher vote thresholds to approve ballot measures on specific topics. In Arizona, for example, any ballot measure to approve a tax requires 60% of voters to vote in favor of the measure. Washington requires 60% of all voters casting a ballot to approve initiatives or referendums related to lotteries. Utah, meanwhile, requires a two-thirds (66.67%) vote to approve any initiatives concerning hunting.

Constitutional amendments require voter approval in 49 out of 50 states. Only Delaware does not.

Thirty-eight states, including Ohio, require a simple majority to approve a constitutional amendment. 

Additionally, Oregon requires that a ballot measure proposing a supermajority vote on ballot measures be passed by the same vote threshold, such as 60%, as the measure proposes.

If approved, Issue 1 would make Ohio the 12th state to require more than a simple majority of voters to approve constitutional amendments.

Issue 1 would also make Ohio tie with Florida as the state with the highest voter approval requirement (60%) to pass citizen-initiated constitutional amendments. The ballot initiative process allows citizens to propose measures and collect signatures to place their proposals on the ballot. Twenty-six states allow citizen initiatives. Eighteen of those states, including Ohio, allow for citizen-initiated constitutional amendments. 

New Hampshire, which has the highest voter approval requirement overall for constitutional amendments, doesn’t allow citizen-initiated constitutional amendments. The state allows legislatively-referred constitutional amendments, which state legislators refer to the ballot for voters to decide.

All states but Delaware provide for legislative-referred constitutional amendments. In 33 states, legislatively-referred constitutional amendments require a supermajority in one or both state legislative chambers to be placed on the ballot. 

In Ohio, a 60 percent vote in each legislative chamber during one legislative session is required to refer a legislatively referred constitutional amendment to the ballot. That amounts to a minimum of 60 votes in the Ohio House of Representatives and 20 votes in the Ohio Senate, assuming no vacancies. 

Issue 1—a legislatively referred constitutional amendment—passed 62-37 in the House and 26-7 in the Senate. Sixty-two House Republicans supported the amendment, and five opposed it. While all Senate Republicans backed the proposal, all House and Senate Democrats voted against it.

Produced in association with Ballotpedia

Edited by and

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