The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, May. 20, 2022

Ohio A-G rejects amendment proposal

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Friday rejected the petition for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would require automatic voter registration when a citizen applies for, renews, updates, or replaces an Ohio driver’s license, learner’s permit, or identification card, unless he or she affirmatively opts out of registration.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Ohio A-G Mike DeWine

On February 16, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received a written petition proposing to add Section 10 to Article V of the Ohio Constitution and a summary of the proposed amendment.  While the summary states that the amendment will register citizens “who are eligible to vote in Ohio,” the amendment text itself applies prospectively to register any person “who will be eligible to vote in the next statewide primary or general election[.]” This distinction may mislead potential signers as to who would be registered to vote as a result of the amendment.

For example, a 16-year-old who obtains a learner’s permit after this year’s primary would be eligible to vote at the next statewide primary election in 2018 so long as she would be 18 years old by November of that year.  The amendment can be read to direct the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to automatically register that 16-year-old to vote.

Additionally, while the summary includes an explanation of changes to state law, this provision may represent an additional change.

“For this reason, I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful statement of the proposed amendment,” Attorney General DeWine stated in his letter rejecting the petition. “However, I must caution that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all defects in the submitted summary.”

The full text of today’s letter and of the amendment petition submitted can be found at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/ballotinitiatives.

POSTED: 02/27/16 at 9:22 am. FILED UNDER: News