General Assembly Initiated Constitutional Amendment

The members of the General Assembly represent Ohio's voters in the legislative branch. They have the ability to pass a joint resolution which will appear as an issue on the general election ballot. Electors then have the option of voting for or against the issue. If the issue receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the issue will become a constitutional amendment.

Petitioners are encouraged to consult legal counsel.

RequirementActionAuthority
Joint resolution
  1. Either branch of the General Assembly may propose amendments to the Ohio Constitution. Customarily, constitutional amendments are proposed by joint resolution.
  2. A three-fifths vote in favor of the joint resolution is required for its passage.
  3. The joint resolution must then be filed with the Secretary of State at least 90 days before the date of the election at which it is to be submitted to the electors, for their approval or rejection.

Ohio Constitution: Article XVI, Section 1(opens in a new window)

Ballot Language
  1. The Secretary of State must pass the joint resolution on to the Ohio Ballot Board.
  2. The Ohio Ballot Board must prescribe the ballot language and explanation for such proposed constitutional amendments and certify them to the Secretary of State not later than 75 days before the election.

Ohio Constitution: Article XVI, Section 1(opens in a new window)

Ohio Revised Code Section: 3505.062(opens in a new window)

Constitutional Amendment Challenges
  1. The Ohio Supreme Court has original, exclusive jurisdiction in all cases challenging the adoption or submission of a proposed constitutional amendment to the electors.
  2. Cases challenging the ballot language, the explanation, or the actions or procedures of the General Assembly in adopting and submitting a constitutional amendment must be filed not later than 64 days before the election.
  3. Unless it misleads, deceives or defrauds the voters, the ballot language must not be held invalid.

Ohio Constitution: Article XVI, Section 1(opens in a new window)

Ballot Arguments
  1. The General Assembly may appoint members who voted in support of the proposed constitutional amendment to prepare arguments in favor of it, and the General Assembly may appoint members who voted in opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment to prepare arguments against it. All arguments must be 300 words or less and must be filed with the Secretary of State not later than 80 days before the election.
  2. If members of the General Assembly fail to prepare or timely file arguments, the Secretary of State must notify the Ohio Ballot Board, which must prepare the arguments or designate a group to do so. The arguments must be filed with the Secretary of State not later than 75 days before the election.
  3. The proposed amendments, the ballot language, the explanations, and the arguments must be published once a week for three consecutive weeks preceding such election, in at least one newspaper of general circulation in each county of the state where a newspaper is published

Ohio Constitution: Article XVI, Section 1(opens in a new window)

Ohio Revised Code Section: 3505.063(opens in a new window)

Effective Date

If a majority of voters approves the amendment, it shall become part of the constitution.

Ohio Constitution: Article XVI, Section 1(opens in a new window)