Ohio is making headlines again as activists are suing to have the August special election nixed. The law, enacted by Ohio Republicans earlier this year, effectively scrubbed August special elections from the state’s calendar. Proponents of the law have argued it is an economically-sound decision, calling the elections overly expensive with low turnout.
However, the decision is drawing criticism from activists who feel the move will limit their ability to hold their elected officials accountable. They argue that eliminating the opportunity for special elections limits their ability to fill vacant seats for important positions.
These concerns are being echoed by advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). They point out that the state is taking away a process that allows citizens to have a say in who represents them. Without special elections, citizens are stripped of their right to voice their support or dissatisfaction with a specific candidate and justice could be denied to citizens facing a pressing issue.
It’s worth noting that Ohio’s decision wasn’t made in a vacuum. The law was generated by a resolution signed by Governor Mike DeWine in January. That resolution eliminated the scheduling of virtually all August special elections. While the resolution appears to be compliant with the Ohio Constitution, which grants the General Assembly power to set the dates of elections, many argue that the timing of the resolution is suspect.
The people of Ohio deserve the right to express their opinions through the democratic process. When it comes to democracy, no one should be left behind just because it’s too expensive or inconvenient to the ruling body. It’s clear the issue needs to be addressed and solved fairly. This includes revisiting the resolution that eliminated the scheduling of virtually all August special elections.
With local and state elections coming up, it’s important for everyone in Ohio to be aware of their rights and for the government to acknowledge them. Eliminating the opportunity for special elections limits the power of citizens to control who represents them and thus, it’s essential that this law is overturned.