August election: Butler County officials say they will be ready

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

If Ohio Constitution change is passed in August, it will be harder for citizens to put amendments in front of voters, and for voters to pass them.

In August, Ohio voters will be asked if they want to change how amendments are added to the Ohio Constitution.

This special election and the statewide question were approved by the Ohio Legislature on Wednesday, as the question will ask voters if there should be a 60% approval of an issue that would amend the Ohio Constitution. This was done to get ahead of a possible November vote on placing abortion rights in the constitution.

Now local boards of elections will be getting ready for an unaccounted-for election. Butler County’s top administrators say they anticipate this special summer election could happen, but it’s not much of a scramble.

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“We have known for some time this year that the State Legislature was considering a statewide August election,” said Butler County Board of Elections Director Nicole Unzicker. “We will prepare and administer this election as we do for any election held in Butler County.”

Unzicker said they will continue to provide election information through the Butler County Board of Election website to voters, which will lay out information like early voting hours, vote-by-mail information, sample ballots, and any other relevant changes to the election process.

The Ohio House passed a resolution to hold a statewide election Aug. 8 with a question for voters: Should the threshold for approving amendments to the Ohio Constitution be changed from a majority (50% plus 1) to 60%? The Ohio Senate then concurred with House changes to the resolution, and the issue was set.

The legislation also includes a pair of provisions that apply to citizen-initiated efforts — and not the General Assembly — that would mandate signatures from all 88 Ohio counties (as opposed to the 44 required now) to get an amendment on the ballot and eliminate a 10-day grace period that allows petitioners to gather more signatures if some are found deficient.

It’s happening now because some lawmakers want to make it harder to add abortion rights to the Ohio Constitution. Republican backers of the resolution say it’s a constitutional protection act to prevent deep-pocketed special interests out of the state’s foundational documents. Democrats say it’s nonsense, saying it’s an assault on democracy.

Since the Ohio Legislature just approved the joint resolution on Wednesday, elections offices have not yet received the ballot language as of Thursday, but it’s expected to be a single issue.

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“The Ohio Ballot Board will meet, and the ballot language will be provided to the boards of elections by May 30,” Unzicker said, saying that is the 70th day before the election, which is the normal procedure before any election.

Butler County Board of Elections Deputy Director Eric Corbin said the 2022 August primary election cost Butler County around $360,000, “and we expect the cost will be similar in 2023.”

But Butler County, nor any other Ohio county, will bear the cost. According to a Secretary of State directive, “According to Ohio law, if a precinct is open during a special election solely for the purpose of a statewide ballot issue, the state bears the entire cost of the election.”

Butler County will need between 850 and 900 Precinct Election Officials (also known as poll workers) to work at polling locations on Election Day, which is close to the number of workers the office recruited for the August 2022 primary election. Anyone interested in participating should reach out to the Butler County Board of Elections office at (513) 785-5711.


Read more about the August election issue at

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