Ohio Republican-Backed Issue 1, Which Would Make It Harder to Alter the State Constitution, Is Roundly Rejected

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Ohio held a special election on Tuesday to vote on Issue 1, a measure which proposed that a higher threshold be placed in order to amend the Ohio Constitution. Ohio is one of 18 states which allows its citizens to collect petition signatures in order to amend their state constitutions through public vote. California did this in November 2022 when it approved Proposition 1, which enshrined the right to abortion in its constitution. Currently, Ohio law only requires a simple majority to modify the state constitution. Should Issue 1 be approved, it would require 60 percent voter approval in order to pass a constitutional amendment.

On Tuesday, voters gave a resounding NO to Issue 1. With over three million votes cast, the measure failed 57 percent to 43 percent.

Ohio voters on Tuesday resoundingly rejected a Republican-backed measure that would have made it more difficult to change the state’s constitution, setting up a fall campaign that will become the nation’s latest referendum on abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned nationwide protections last year.

The defeat of Issue 1 keeps in place a simple majority threshold for passing future constitutional amendments. It would have raised that to a 60% supermajority, which supporters said would protect the state’s foundational document from outside interest groups.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Republican Rep. Brian Stewart first introduced the measure in November of 2022. It was widely reported that this was an attempt to thwart abortion rights advocates from attempting to codify this right into the state constitution.

Ohio Republicans placed the question on the summer ballot in hopes of undercutting a citizen initiative voters will decide in November that seeks to enshrine abortion rights in the state.

Dennis Willard, a spokesperson for the opposition campaign One Person One Vote, called Issue 1 a “deceptive power grab” that was intended to diminish the power of the state’s voters.

“Tonight is a major victory for democracy in Ohio,” Willard told a jubilant crowd at the opposition campaign’s watch party. “The majority still rules in Ohio.”

The Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America group, which supported Issue 1 and saw it as a way to protect life, called the result “a sad day for Ohio.” The organization also criticized outside money interests, but both sides of the issue relied on outside funding from California to Washington, D.C., while blasting the influence of special interests outside of Ohio politics. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, who faces a tough re-election battle against Frank LaRose referred to it as a victory for democracy.

By rejecting Issue 1, Ohioans rejected special interests and demanded that democracy remain where it belongs — in the hands of voters, not the rich and powerful. That is what has always guided me. I am proud to stand with Ohioans in this fight.

California celebrity George Takei also chose to weigh in on Ohio politics, claiming victory for voting rights and abortion rights.

The victory against the anti-democratic Issue 1 in Ohio, which lost by 14 points, shows that voters are on to the GOP’s ways. We won’t stand for rights being stripped away, whether it’s voting rights or abortion rights.

Ohio Secretary of State and Senate candidate Frank LaRose issued a statement on Wednesday on the vote:

I’m grateful that nearly 1.3 million Ohioans stood with us in this fight, but this is only one battle in a long war. Unfortunately, we were dramatically outspent by dark money billionaires from California to New York, and the giant ‘for sale’ sign still hangs on Ohio’s constitution. Ohioans will see the devastating impact of this vote soon enough. The radical activists that opposed Issue 1 are already planning amendments to shut parents out of a child’s life-altering medical procedure, force job killing wage mandates on small businesses, prevent law abiding citizens from protecting their families and remove critical protections for our first responders. I’ve said for months now that there’s an assault coming on our constitution, and that hasn’t changed. I’m just getting started in the fight to protect Ohio’s values.

The battle on just how the state constitution will be modified will continue to wage into the Fall and 2024.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Ohio has failed the people. Did they not learn from what the demorats did last Presidential election. We lost a fine president for a demented old thief controlled by his crack-head criminal son. Now Ohio can allow these vote thieves to pass more rotten laws , murder more children and force their insanity upon a once sane state. I have lived here for the last twelve years , this may be my last. This law had one great purpose , Making it harder for the donkeys to cheat to pass laws. Now they can keep their plots to undermine our freedoms and murder healthy babies.

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