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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Ohio voters to decide future of constitutional amendments, abortion

Aug 07, 2023

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Voters in Ohio will make a very important decision Tuesday, Aug. 8. They will determine if the threshold for amending the state constitution should be increased to 60% of the vote or remain at a simple majority. 

If the amendment, known as Issue One, passes, it will be effective immediately. The impact will be known in just three months. 

On Nov. 7, Ohio voters will return to the polls to decide whether to add a constitutional right to reproductive freedom. According to the state attorney general’s office, that includes decisions regarding contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care and abortion. However, the amendment does allow the state to prohibit abortion after fetal viability. 

Polling shows why increasing the threshold with Issue One would be such a big deal.

Surveys consistently show a majority of Ohioans support a right to reproductive freedom, but not quite 60%. As an example, a USA Today/Suffolk University poll in July found 58% of Ohio voters support the abortion amendment. However, polling indicates it’s unlikely Issue One will be approved. USA Today and Suffolk University found 57% of Ohio voters oppose it, while 26% support it.

The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office published arguments for and against Issue One.

Supporters argue it protects the state constitution from deep-pocketed, out-of-state interests and ensures constitutional changes are widely accepted. Opponents contend the amendment would destroy citizen-driven ballot initiatives and upend the right to make decisions that directly impact Ohioans’ lives. They also said the measure would undermine the principle of “one person, one vote” and destroy majority rule in Ohio.

The abortion amendment was brought forward by a group of citizens who submitted signatures via petition. Issue One was brought forward by Republicans in the state Legislature in response to the vote on abortion and a separate measure on marijuana legalization.

Ohio is one of 18 states that have citizen-initiated constitutional amendments, which allow everyday people to add an amendment vote to an election ballot by collecting a certain number of signatures.

The signature threshold is different in every state; in Arizona, it’s 15% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. In Nebraska, it’s 10% of registered voters. 

Ohio isn’t the only state trying to change the requirements for constitutional amendment approval. Missouri’s Legislature just tried and failed, and North Dakota voters will decide in 2024.

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Voters in Ohio will make a very important decision Tuesday, August 8. Should the threshold for amending the state constitution be increased to 60% of the vote or remain at a simple majority? Yes or no? 

 

If the amendment, known as Issue One, passes, it will be effective immediately. 

 

And it won’t take long to know its impact. On November 7, Ohio voters will return to the polls to decide whether to add a constitutional right to reproductive freedom. According to the state attorney general’s office, that includes decisions regarding contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care and abortion. However the amendment does allow the state to prohibit abortion after fetal viability. 

 

Polling reveals why increasing the threshold with Issue One would be such a big deal – Surveys consistently show a majority of Buckeyes support a right to reproductive freedom, but not quite 60%. 

 

But polling indicates it’s unlikely Issue One will be approved. 

A July survey from USA Today/Suffolk University found 57% of Ohio voters oppose it while 26% support it.

 

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office published arguments for and against issue one: 

 

Supporters say it protects the state Constitution from deep-pocketed, out-of-state interests and ensures constitutional changes are widely accepted.  

 

Opponents say the amendment would destroy citizen-driven ballot initiatives and upend the right to make decisions that directly impact Ohioans’ lives. They say the measure would undermine the principle of ‘one person, one vote’ and destroy majority rule in Ohio.

 

Ohio is one of 18 states that have what’s called a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment. It allows everyday people to add an amendment vote to an election ballot by collecting a certain number of signatures. The signature threshold is different in every state – in Arizona it’s 15% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election, in Nebraska it’s 10% of registered voters. 

 

Ohio isn’t the only state trying to change the requirements for constitutional amendment approval. Missouri’s legislature just tried and failed and North Dakota voters will decide in 2024. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan.