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Vote ‘yes’ for the passage of Issue 1

Voters often struggle when it comes to the ballot. They can be torn between supporting a certain candidate or issue. That is understandable. We have all wrestled with such decisions.

That shouldn’t be the case with one particular vote that you will cast. Voters in Ohio will face a constitutional question on the Nov. 7 ballot. Amending our state’s Constitution requires a lot as it should: a two-thirds vote of both the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate. Then, of course, it must capture a majority among the voters in order to become a law. That vote comes next month.

Issue 1 will appear on the ballot. You may have heard it refered to as Marsy’s Law. There is a reason. It is named for Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas. She was a college student at the University of California Santa Barbara who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend. Just as week after her murder, her father and mother walked into a grocery store after visiting their daughter’s grave. Startlingly, they were confronted by the accused murderer. The had no idea he had been released on bail.

Marsy’s family began a crusade for victim’s rights. Specifically, rights of victims — and in the case of murders, the victim’s family — to be informed at every single stage of the case that involves them. Five states have enacted the law including California, Illinois, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. Ohio would be a sixth. The issue will appear on 2018 ballots in Oklahoma and Nevada.

According to Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics at https://ballotpedia.org, Issue 1 would repeal and replace Ohio’s Amendment 2, which voters passed in 1994. Like Amendment 2, Marsy’s Law was designed to provide crime victims with constitutional rights. Unlike Amendment 2, Marsy’s Law would provide some new rights and a more specific list of rights. Victims would be informed during all stages of the prosecution. They would be heard in pleas, sentencing and imposing of sentences. They must be informed of the release or escape of the suspect. It guarantees restitution. The law would also provide the victims with the right to refuse to be interviewed by the defense for a deposition or other pretrial matters.

Doesn’t it seem that victims of crimes nowadays do not get their just due? Is almost as if they are excluded from a legal process. Passage of Issue 1 would help would help immensely. Voices will be heard. Keep in mind too that Issue 1 would not affect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of defendants. They would get their due process entitlement. But with a victim or victim’s family being made aware of the entire process. As it should be.

Opponents argue that Issue 1 does not provide additional resources and the government remains susceptible to liability. Detractors claim its passage will produce litigation, increased cost to taxpayers, and create cases delays.

That’s not good enough for us. And it shouldn’t be for you or any other voter in Ohio. If passage of Marsy’s Law provides even an extra bit of rights for a victim it will be worth it. Vote “yes” to Issue 1 on Nov. 7.

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