OSBC Testifies in Opposition to Senate Bill 137 that seeks to ban Ranked Choice Voting in Ohio

OSBC Testifies in Opposition to Senate Bill 137 that seeks to ban Ranked Choice Voting in Ohio

Legislation has been introduced in the Ohio legislature to essentially ban municipalities from opting to use ranked choice voting, the democratization of elections.

The bill, SB 137, not only results in stopping municipalities from using ranked choice voting – it is an attack on local democracy by eliminating Home Rule, which allows local government to make decisions regarding policy as long as that policy does not violate the state constitution.  Essentially, SB 137, says that Statehouse politicians know what is best for local communities and their voters.

SB 137 would punish municipalities that enact ranked choice voting in local elections by denying those municipalities Local Government Fund dollars. Municipalities rely on LGF funds to provide local services.

Mayda Sanchez Shingler, executive director of the Ohio Sustainable Business Council and leader of the Ohio Business for Democracy collaborative, testified on February 21, 2024, in opposition to SB 137.

Watch the clip of that testimony here.

The text of Mayda’ testimony is below:


Chairman Rulli, Vice Chairman Schuring, and Members of the Senate General Government Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to present testimony on Senate Bill 137.

I am Mayda Sanchez Shingler, executive director of the Ohio Sustainable Business Council that represents hundreds of small businesses across Ohio. 

I am testifying today on behalf of the Business for Democracy Ohio collaborative, of which my organization is a member.

Small businesses want to have their voices heard by policymakers. 

And in Ohio, local government offers the best opportunity for this input because of Home Rule, in which local governments make policy decisions for their local communities as long as such policy doesn’t violate the federal or state constitutions.  This local government control is what makes Ohio good for voters, small business owners, and democracy.

Unfortunately, the supporters of SB 137 apparently no longer believe in Home Rule, or local control, or democracy.

We have testimony from those in support of SB 137 that is filled with misinformation and outright untruths. 

Ranked choice voting does not delay election results any more than plurality or majority elections do if carried out correctly. (1)

Ranked choice voting has a tendency to increase voter turnout and these voters, according to the polls, are happy with the election process. (2)

Ranked choice voting does not silence voters.  It gives them more voice in the eventual majority winner.

Ranked choice voting is not, as has been described by an SB 137 supporter, “too complex for our overworked and underpaid election workers”.  Ranked choice voting is easy to understand and describe.    And, by the way, if election workers are “overworked and underpaid”, hire more of them and pay them more.

Rank choice voting was a pilot program Arlington County, Virginia, in June of 2023, and was never supposed to be used in the November 2023 elections.  However, the Arlington County Board has voted unanimously to use ranked choice voting in all future primary elections for the Board. (3)

If the SB 137 supporters believe that ranked choice voting is so onerous, why would any municipality adopt it voluntarily?   

Clearly, the supporters of this bill believe that elected municipal officials and their voters are not capable of making correct decisions.  So, state government must step in.

If this is the case, what other local municipal decisions should be controlled by the state legislature.

Should the state tell municipalities what their local water rates should be?

Should small business owners worry that municipalities will be punished by the state for offering small businesses more attractive local tax rates than they give the big corporate campaign donors of the Columbus politicians? 

Conservatives have long railed about the federal government being a nanny state for the behavior of individuals.

Supporters of SB 137 want Ohio to be a nanny state for the behavior of local government.

On behalf of the Ohio Business for Democracy collaborative and all Ohio small businesses, I ask that the Committee reject this effort to tell municipalities what they can and cannot do. 

Let municipal elected officials make their own decisions with the input of their local voters and small businesses.

Let Home Rule…rule.

Thank you again for the opportunity to testify on Senate Bill 137.



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