The amendment language is part of the petition as is the language to appear on the ballot in Ohio. The ballot board has the option to rewrite the ballot language if the States Attorney General (chairman of the ballot board) or the ballot board find the petition ballot language "not a fair and truthful representation of the proposed amendment". Which in Ohio they did.
Ballot Initiative and Referendum Processes. Ohio Attorney General
Constitutional Amendments and Initiated Statutes
If the petition is to initiate a constitutional amendment or statute, the full text of the initiative, the summary, and all signatures must be submitted to the Attorney General's Office. The Attorney General has 10 calendar days to conduct an examination to determine if the summary is a fair and truthful representation of the proposed amendment or statute. If the Attorney General determines the summary is fair and truthful, the Attorney General must certify the petition to the Ballot Board.
The full Ohio rule:
Ohio Laws and Administrative Rules:
Section 3519.01 | Initiative and referendum petitions.
The controversy in the Ohio ballot Nov 2023 was not that the substance of the amendment contained in the petition was being modified, the controversy was whether the ballot language used by either side represented the intent, purpose, and effect of the proposed amendment to the voters. The petitioners believed the subsequent ballot board "summary" language prepared by the Ohio Secretary of State and agreed to by the majority of the ballot board was misleading. Not only was it longer than the proposed amendment, the ballot language the petitioners felt would mislead voters on:
- the right the amendment would create
- whom the amendment would restrict,
- whether the amendment would protect an individual’s right to continue a pregnancy,
- the scope of a treating physician’s discretion to determine “fetal viability,”
- how the amendment would limit regulation by the state.
Abortion rights amendment petition writers sue Ohio Ballot Board for “deceptive” summary
The Petitioners asked the Ohio Supreme court to:
- 1 prescribe the amendment’s full text as the ballot language or
- 2 direct the board to prescribe lawful ballot language.
On Sept 19, 2023 the Supreme Court of Ohio found the ballot language was misleading and ordered some of the objectionable text changed. They took the allegation point by point and ruled on each one and prescribed the final text of the ballot language
OHIOANS UNITED FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ET AL. v.OHIO BALLOT BOARD ET A
In the finalized text the petitioners got some but not all the requested changes requested.