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As I was following all the drama of the Ohio election suspension yesterday, there were several articles about the initial lawsuit supported by the government. Many of these articles have already been totally changed, replacing the original article with new content reflecting more recent developments (which is really disconcerting) , so I have just one example.

What was most meaningful to me was the idea that the most legal path for the Governor to change the election was to call an emergency session of the Ohio state legislature, which has the power in Ohio to declare elections.

I could find this one article that still seems to reference this idea --

https://www.cleveland.com/open/2020/03/judge-rules-ohio-election-is-on-for-tomorrow.html

Before making his decision, Judge Frye said he hesitated to change state law that was enacted by the General Assembly.

“As of tonight, the governor has not called an emergency session of the legislature, [so how can they say they have exhausted all options and the court must act] " Frye said.

  • Is it correct that in Ohio the Governor has authority to compel an emergency session of the legislature?
  • (or was the judge only referring to the idea that the governor should have tried asking the legislature to meet, though he doesn't have the authority to compel them?)
  • I was going to edit the title, but it's too small of a change. Could someone please edit it grammatically? – CGCampbell Mar 17 at 17:50
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    what exactly do you want to edit? :p – Mike M Mar 17 at 18:45
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Yes. Under section III.08 of the Ohio Constitution:

The governor on extraordinary occasions may convene the general assembly by proclamation and shall state in the proclamation the purpose for which such special session is called, and no other business shall be transacted at such special session except that named in the proclamation, or in a subsequent public proclamation or message to the general assembly issued by the governor during said special session, but the general assembly may provide for the expenses of the session and other matters incidental thereto.

This is an extremely common power for executives; according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the governors of all 50 states have that power. The President can likewise convene Congress according to Article II of the US Constitution:

He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

If an emergency requires laws to be passed, an out-of-session legislature can't easily react by itself (if it's not in session, it has trouble coordinating even the decision to come back in session). In contrast, the executive branch operates continuously and the chief executive is always on duty, so they have a much easier time deciding to call the legislature back.

  • awesome! Thanks so much. I know people on here know a lot more than me how to look this stuff up. As is the custom on SE, let me wait a little while before Accepting so more can participate, but I know you are first :) – Mike M Mar 17 at 16:12
  • ok... I think 5 hours is pretty good.... Accept it up! – Mike M Mar 17 at 21:54

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