Ohio’s present constitution was adopted in 1851. It succeeded the constitution adopted in 1802. Proposed amendments to the constitution must initially be approved by three-fifths of the membership in each house of the state legislature or by a special constitutional convention, which may be called either by the legislature or by the voters. Amendments may also be proposed by the people by means of the initiative. To be adopted, an amendment must be approved by a majority of the voters in a general election.
The state’s chief executive, the governor, is elected to a four-year term. He may not serve more than two terms consecutively. The governor is responsible for the preparation of the state budget and has extensive powers of appointment. He may veto proposed legislation, but his veto may be overridden by a three-fifths vote of the elected members of each house. Other elected officials are the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, auditor, and the 23 members of the state board of education. All serve four-year terms.
Ohio’s state legislature, which is called the General Assembly, consists of a 33-member Senate and a 99-member House of Representatives. Senators are elected to four-year terms and representatives to two-year terms. Regular sessions of the legislature are convened annually, beginning on the first Monday in January. The governor may also call special sessions.
The Supreme Court, which is composed of a chief justice and six judges, is the highest state court in Ohio. Courts of appeals, consisting of three or more judges each, serve as lower courts of review. The major trial courts are the courts of common pleas, which are established in each county. All 88 counties have separate probate courts. Other courts in Ohio include county courts, municipal courts, juvenile courts, police courts, and mayors’ courts.
All judges in the state court system, except for those in the municipal courts, are elected on nonpartisan ballots for terms of six years.
Ohio has 88 counties, most governed by an elected three-person board of county commissioners. Other elected county officials include the auditor, prosecuting attorney, clerk of courts, sheriff, recorder, treasurer, engineer, and coroner. All county officials are elected to four-year terms.
Most municipalities have the mayor and council form of government, but some large cities have the council and city manager form of government. Ohio also has township government in the nonincorporated portions of counties. Authority for township government rests in elected trustees.
Ohio elects two U.S. senators and 18 members of the House of Representatives. This gives the state 20 electoral votes. "Ohio" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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