Issue 1, which will change how judges set bail, and Issue 2, which will keep non-citizens from voting appeared on ballots statewide this election. Both needed a majority of affirmative votes to pass and were designed to take effect immediately upon passage.
Below are the latest unofficial results from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. As of 11:27 p.m., with nearly all of precincts statewide reporting, more than three-quarters of voters were in favor of both measures:
Bail reform: What will Issue 1 do?
Issue 1 will amend the Ohio Constitution to require courts to consider public safety when setting bail for defendants.
Once Issue 1 takes effect, Ohio judges will be required to take into account factors like the seriousness of the offense, defendants’ criminal records and the likelihood they will return to court when setting defendants’ bail amount — along with “any other factor” legislators prescribe, according to the ballot language.
“It has been less than ten months since the DuBose v McGuffey decision undercut the ability of prosecutors and judges to protect Ohioans,” said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in a statement Tuesday evening. “The speed of the effort to reject this decision shows how strongly voters feel about this issue.
“Today’s ballot results are an unmistakable warning to judges who might ignore Ohio law and common sense and try to impose their personal views on Ohio citizens and families.”
A “no” vote on Issue 1 would have preserved a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision on “excessive” bail and the court’s ruling that public safety should not be considered when setting defendants’ bail.
Below are Issue 1’s proposed deletions (struck-out) and additions (in bold) to Article I, Section 9 of the Ohio Constitution:
All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for a person who is charged with a capital offense where the proof is evidence or the presumption great, and except for a person who is charged with a felony where the proof is evident or the presumption great and where the person poses a substantial risk of serious physical harm to any person or to the community. Where a person is charged with any offense for which the person may be incarcerated, the court may determine at any time the type, amount, and conditions of bail. Excessive bail shall not be required; nor excessive fines imposed; nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. When determining the amount of bail, the court shall consider public safety, including the seriousness of the offense, and a person’s criminal record, the likelihood a person will return to court, and any other factor the general assembly may prescribe.
The general assembly shall fix by law standards to determine whether a person who is charged with a felony where the proof is evident or the presumption great poses a substantial risk of serious physical harm to any person or to the community.
Procedures for establishing the amount and conditions of bail shall be established pursuant to Article IV, Section 5(B) of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.
Earlier this year, the Ohio Supreme Court found a $1.5 million bail set in a Cincinnati murder case to be “excessive” and thus, unconstitutional, FOX 8 sister station WCMH reported.
Since the defendant couldn’t afford the bail amount, it effectively served as a denial of bail, justices ruled. The justices said bail is intended only to ensure defendants appear for court and that “public safety is not a consideration.”
Supporters of Issue 1 said the measure was intended to reverse that decision, reestablishing the courts’ authority to keep potentially violent offenders behind bars, WCMH reported. Opponents, however, said Issue 1 misses the mark on bail reform. They believe it could allow judges to simply deny bail without a hearing.
Voting rights: What will Issue 2 do?
Issue 2 will amend Ohio Constitution to prohibit local governments from allowing a person to vote in local elections if they are not legally qualified to vote in state elections, according to the ballot language.
It will also change other constitutional language on voter eligibility. Previously, the state constitution allowed “every” eligible U.S. citizen who is at least 18 years old to vote. Issue 2 now makes it so “only” an eligible U.S. citizen who is at least 18 years old can vote, prohibiting anyone who lacks citizenship from voting at the state or local level.
Federal law bans non-citizens from voting in federal or state elections, but local home rule powers allowed voters to decide whether they want to allow non-citizens to vote at the local level — as residents of Yellow Springs did in 2020.
Once Issue 2 takes effect, it will effectively prohibit municipalities from using home rule powers to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections, since constitutional law trumps statutory law.
A “no” vote on Issue 2 would have allowed municipalities to decide whether their non-citizens get to vote in their local elections.
The legislative resolution that put Issue 2 on the ballot stemmed from a dispute over a charter amendment adopted by voters in Yellow Springs, near Dayton, which would have allowed about 30 of the village’s non-citizen residents to vote locally, WCMH reported.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose pushed back, saying the measure devalued American citizenship, and ordered the Greene County elections board to reject voter registrations from non-citizens.
Below are Issue 2’s proposed deletions (struck-out) and additions (in bold) to Article V, Section 1 of the Ohio Constitution:
EveryOnly a citizen of the United States, of the age of eighteen years, who has been a resident of the state, county, township, or ward, such time as may be provided by law, and has been registered to vote for thirty days, has the qualifications of an elector, and is entitled to vote at all elections. No person who lacks those qualifications shall be permitted to vote at any state or local election held in the state. Any elector who fails to vote in at least one election during any period of four consecutive years shall cease to be an elector unless hethe elector again registers to vote.
Supporters of Issue 2 said it nullifies a perceived loophole in local voting laws as they pertain to non-citizens.
One opponent of Issue 2 told WCMH the change could technically prohibit voting for some 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by Election Day, and would otherwise be eligible to vote under a state statute established in 2016.
Others said the amendment “relies on racially coded language” that could foster “negative rhetoric toward immigrant communities.”
FOX 8 sister station WCMH contributed background information on this story.