Ohio voters refuse to change the state constitution


Winning for Abortion Rights Defenders, 1st issue of Ohio Will Fail, The News agency projects. The Republican-backed ballot initiative would have raised the threshold for amending the state constitution, making it more difficult to take action that would enshrine Abortion rights into the state constitution for passage later this year.

A yes vote on the first issue meant that constitutional amendments, including the abortion amendment, needed 60% support, rather than the current minimum of 50% plus one. The increased limit would have been put into effect immediately if v1 was exceeded.

Issue 1 would also have created stricter signature requirements for citizen-led measures to appear on the ballot. Currently, organizers must collect signatures equal to 5% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election from half of Ohio’s 88 counties. If the first version was passed, the organizers would have needed signatures from all 88 counties.

Photo: Crowd cheering as Jim Caviezel speaks during a prof "Rosary pool" On August 6, 2023, in Norwood, Ohio.

A crowd cheers as Jim Caviezel speaks during the “Walk of the Rosary” on August 6, 2023, in Norwood, Ohio. A national religious organization, Catholics for Catholics, gathered a group of anti-abortion influencers and conspiracy theorists from across the United States to speak at the rally to urge a “yes” vote on a ballot question in Ohio, known as the first version. By approving the first issue, it would make it difficult for the abortion rights amendment to pass on the November ballot.

Daron Cummings / AP

In addition, the first version would have eliminated the 10-day treatment period, during which citizens could replace any signatures rejected by the state.

A “no” vote on the first issue meant maintaining the existing requirement to amend the state constitution by ballot initiative with the support of a simple majority.

On Tuesday evening, President Joe Biden issued a statement in support of the voters’ decision.

He began his statement, “Today, voters in Ohio rejected the attempt by Republican lawmakers and special interests to change the state’s constitutional amendment process.” “This action was a blatant attempt to weaken the vote and further erode a woman’s freedom to make her own health care decisions. Ohioans spoke loud and clear, and democracy won tonight.”

Early voter turnout has soared in the special election, with more than 696,900 people voting by mail or in person since early voting began on June 23.

Critics denounced Tuesday’s election as a concerted effort by the Ohio Republican Party to change election rules to undermine an abortion ballot measure in November.

“Let me tell you what this issue has always been about: abortion and reproductive freedom,” state senator Kent Smith said in a speech. video He urged Ohioans to vote against the first issue. Republicans are trying to manipulate the rejection of the abortion rights amendment in November, which is why the ‘No’ vote on August 8th is so important.”

PHOTO: An American flag waves in the breeze next to a sign directing Ohioans to vote inside Tharp Grade 6 School, on August 8, 2023 in Hilliard, Ohio.

The American flag waves in the breeze next to a sign directing Ohioans to vote inside Tharp Grade 6 School, on August 8, 2023 in Hilliard, Ohio.

Samantha Hendrickson/AP

Republicans defended the first case by saying it was an attempt to protect Ohio’s constitution from the influence of special interest groups.

Vote Yes on Case #1 for: Protect Ohio Values, Preserve People Power [and] Defending the Ohio Constitution,” chirp Ohio Republican Party.

PHOTO: A banner asking Ohioans to vote in support of Version 1 sits atop another banner advocating for abortion rights at an event hosted by Created Equal, July 20, 2023, in Cincinnati.

A banner asking Ohioans to vote in support of Version 1 sits atop another banner advocating for abortion rights at an event hosted by Created Equal, July 20, 2023, in Cincinnati.

Patrick Ursagos/AP

But a high-ranking Ohio Republican Party official reportedly admitted that the party was in fact organized around the first issue in part to block a vote on abortion rights this November, among other motives.

“It’s 100 percent about getting the radical pro-choice amendment out of our Constitution. The left wants to fire it up next November,” said Secretary of State Frank LaRose. He said in an event in May, according to local TV station WCMH.

LaRose later added to his comments, saying that abortion was “just one of many reasons” for his support of the first case. “It is simply about protecting the Constitution from a whole lot of bad ideas,” he said.

After Tuesday’s results, LaRose released a statement on social media platform X, saying the “devastating impact of this vote” will come “soon enough,” and hinting at an abortion rights amendment slated for a vote in November.

“I am 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 have been vastly outmatched by dark money billionaires from California to New York, and the giant “For Sale.” The banner still hangs over the Ohio State Constitution,” LaRose began.

“Ohioans will see the devastating impact of this vote soon enough. The radical activists who opposed the first version are already planning amendments to bar parents from participation in child-life-altering medical procedures, impose killer pay mandates on small businesses, and bar law-abiding citizens” from Protecting their families and removing crucial protections for our first responders. I have said for months that there is an upcoming assault on our constitution, and this has not changed. I’m just beginning to fight to protect the values ​​of Ohio,” he concluded.

Ohio is the only state scheduled to vote on abortion rights this year. The amendment would create a “fundamental right to reproductive freedom” in the Ohio Constitution and provide protections across five categories: contraception, fertility treatment, pregnancy continuation, abortion care, and abortion.

And in 2022, similar actions have led to several victories for abortion rights advocates. Voters in California, Michigan and Vermont enshrined abortion rights in their state constitutions. Kansas and Kentucky struck down initiatives that would have amended their constitutions to say they did not protect the right to abortion.

This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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