Ohio voters rejected an attempt by the GOP to increase the threshold for passing a constitutional amendment Tuesday, clearing the way for an easier passage of abortion legislation on the ballot in November, according to multiple reports.
Early voting was very high for an August special election, with over 575,000 being cast from Friday to Monday before the polls officially opened, according to Reuters. The GOP-sponsored Issue 1, which would have required amendments to get 60% approval from voters instead of only a simple majority, failed by double-digit margins, according to various reports. (RELATED: Swing State Dems Launch Bid To Enshrine Abortion In State Constitution)
Some of the polling stations around Akron, Ohio, experienced issues with the machinery but Summit County Board of Elections Deputy Director Pete Zeigler told the Akron Beacon Journal that the problem was due to station workers having trouble operating new equipment. Zeigler said that no stations were stopped and that voting continued on schedule.
Ohioans, today is the day to send a strong message that the Ohio Constitution is not for sale. Grab your friends & get to the polls‼️ #YesOn1
— charlotte perez (@_charlotteperez) August 8, 2023
Effective immediately, amendments must also get 5% voter support from all 88 counties in the state, according to the legislation. Starting January 2024, Issue 1 also would have eliminated the 10-day window during which advocates can gather more signatures if the state deems too many of the originals to be invalid.
In 2019, Republican state lawmakers passed a six-week ban, with limited exceptions, which went into effect following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022, according to the Columbus Dispatch. A lawsuit was later filed by pro-choice advocates and a county judge placed the law on hold for the duration of the litigation process, making the procedure legal up to viability, typically 22 weeks, according to the New York Times.
In response, abortion advocates gathered over 700,000 signatures to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2024 ballot. GOP lawmakers have claimed that Issue 1 is more about protecting outside influences on the state’s constitution, rather than a direct attack on abortion, while pro-choice advocates have claimed that the changes are simply a ploy to deny abortion access in the state, according to Action 13 News, a local media outlet.
If passed, the amendment would allow abortions up to birth if deemed necessary by a physician to protect the life of the mother, according to the legislation.
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