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If there is an issue that you think should become a law, you don’t have to wait until your state legislature agrees with you. You can let the voters decide by filing a ballot initiative. Your direct action can qualify your measure to be on the ballot in the next statewide election.

Last updated on: December 20, 2020

The following is a brief overview of the ballot initiative process in Ohio. Under Article 2, Section 1 of the Ohio Constitution voters can propose initiatives for the ballot statewide. The Ohio Revised Code contains more detailed information about getting your initiative on the ballot.

Getting Started

First, start the initiative process by creating a committee for your petition that consists of three to five people. These individuals will then be the main point of contact for the initiative. 

Draft the proposed initiative and collect 1,000 signatures of registered voters. Before you start your petition, you should check the signature requirements. Once you have your draft and signatures submit the petition to the Attorney General for “determination of the summary and proposed law.”


Within 10 days of submission to the Attorney General will certify and file the petition to the Secretary of State. This certification occurs if the AG finds the summary to be a fair and truthful representation of the proposed law. This is an important first step to getting an initiative on the ballot. 

Petitioning and The Ballot

There are specific guidelines and requirements for your initiative petition.  For all the requirements and language needed for your petition visit Section 3519.05 of the Ohio Revised Code.

The number of signatures required must be equal to or greater than 10% of the votes cast in the last election for governor.  These numbers are subject to change, but you can find the exact number needed on the Attorney General’s website.

The committee will work with the Secretary of State to receive a ballot title. To be approved your proposed initiative must receive an affirmative vote of the majority votes cast.