The shorter days and cooler nights Ohioans are experiencing means fall is right around the corner, a time when families finish up their summer vacations and kids return to school. It also is about the time that many voters first begin paying serious attention to the upcoming November election.
The Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice (OACJ)* wants to help educate voters and community leaders on the importance of the three state Supreme Court races on this year’s ballot. OACJ believes in promoting fair, independent justices for the state’s highest court, justices whose decisions are based on what the law actually says, rather than what they may want it to say. **
Beyond the candidates themselves, the 2022 Ohio Supreme Court races carry include a couple of interesting wrinkles.
First, this marks the first year that candidates’ party affiliation will be listed on the ballot, following the legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 80 in 2021. Previously, voters who may not have paid attention to the races or candidates had a tendency to vote for the candidate based solely on the last name that was most familiar. This is why Ohio Supreme Court races have been mostly a “name game,” where candidates have been more likely to run when they had an “electable” name.
Second, the Supreme Court races will appear higher on the ballot. Not surprisingly, the farther down something is on the ballot, the less likely many individuals are to cast a vote in these races. Ohio Supreme Court races are of the utmost importance to the future of our state, and the Alliance wants to encourage all members to take the time to educate themselves on the candidates and make their voices heard. Moving these races higher on the ballot should help ensure more people will actually cast a vote in these contests, so making sure these are informed votes is more important than ever.
Although the US Senate race and statewide elections will receive the greatest amount of attention from media and voters this fall, the three races for Ohio Supreme Court cannot be overlooked. The outcome in these races will set the tone of the legal environment in Ohio for the next several years.
* NFIB’s Ohio Legislative Director Chris Ferruso serves as chairman for the OACJ
** The NFIB Ohio PAC has issued endorsements in all three races for the 2022 November General Election