Ohio Senate leader says elections officials will have enough money to conduct August 8 election
The Ohio Senate has allocated $15 million for the Aug. 8 special election to consider a proposed constitutional change making it harder to pass future constitutional amendments. But county boards of elections officials worry it won't be enough.
Lawmakers chose that amount after consulting with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state's top elections official, according to Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima).
“When we asked how much would be needed, the Secretary of State’s office estimated $10 to $12 million so we put $15 (million) in just case," Huffman said, adding the Senate isn’t opposed to increasing that amount if needed.
“We probably will appropriate additional dollars," Huffman said.
Local elections officials say the cost of the August special election could be higher than similar elections in the past. They're expecting higher turnout due to the controversial issue on the ballot: a change to the state constitution that would raise the bar from 50% to 60% approval for passing future constitutional amendments.
LaRose has acknowledged the special election is "100%" intended to prevent the passage of a November ballot proposal to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution.
There is a chance that the Aug. 8 election won't happen. Two different legal challenges have been filed with the Ohio Supreme Court. One is over the language of the August ballot measure. The other is over the process in which the August election was set.
If the Republican-dominated Ohio Supreme Court doesn't rule soon, the election will likely go forward as planned.
Polls show there is support in Ohio for some abortion rights. And votes on abortion rights in states similar to Ohio have passed by more than 50% but less than 60%.