Ohio voters reject GOP measure to make constitutional amendments harder | World News - Hindustan Times
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Ohio voters reject GOP measure to make constitutional amendments harder

Aug 09, 2023 08:45 AM IST

Ohio voters defeat Republican-backed measure to make it harder to amend the state's constitution, seen as preemptive strike against abortion rights initiative.

A Republican-backed measure that would have made it harder to amend the state’s constitution was soundly defeated by Ohio voters on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: An abortion rights protester holds a sign to keep abortion safe in Ohio at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, after the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Dobbs v Women's Health Organization abortion case, overturning the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision, June 24, 2022. REUTERS/Megan Jelinger/File Photo(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: An abortion rights protester holds a sign to keep abortion safe in Ohio at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, after the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Dobbs v Women's Health Organization abortion case, overturning the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision, June 24, 2022. REUTERS/Megan Jelinger/File Photo(REUTERS)

The measure, known as Issue 1, was seen as a preemptive strike against a November ballot initiative that aims to protect abortion rights in the state.

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Issue 1 would have required a 60% supermajority to pass any future constitutional amendments, instead of the simple majority that has been in place since 1912. Supporters of the measure argued that it would prevent outside interest groups from meddling with the state’s foundational document.

However, opponents of the measure saw it as an attempt to undermine a citizen-led effort to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. The effort, led by Ohioans for Reproductive Rights, was launched in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade last year, which left abortion rights up to each state.

The defeat of Issue 1 follows a trend of voters in other states, including some conservative ones, who have voted to protect access to abortion since the Supreme Court ruling.

AP VoteCast polling last year found that 59% of Ohio voters say abortion should generally be legal.

The special election drew a lot of attention and money from both sides of Issue 1, with national groups and outside donors involved in the campaigns. The election also had unusually high early voting turnout, especially in the Democratic-leaning counties around Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati.

The special election was held in August, despite a new law that took effect earlier this year that eliminated such elections, except for emergencies. The law was passed by Republican lawmakers last year, who then ignored it for this year’s election.

ALSO READ| What is Ohio's Issue 1? Learn whether you should vote yes or no and when is the vote

The rejection of Issue 1 was a rare setback for Ohio Republicans, who have controlled every branch of state government for 12 years. Ohio Right to Life, the state’s oldest and largest anti-abortion group and a key supporter of Issue 1, vowed to continue fighting for abortion restrictions in the fall.

One Person One Vote, the opposition campaign, represented a wide, bipartisan coalition of voting rights, labor, faith, and community groups. The group also had the support of four former governors and five former attorneys general of both parties, who called the measure bad public policy.

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