Ohio voters will have the opportunity to decide whether to make it harder to pass constitutional amendments just before November’s eventual vote on an amendment that would enshrine abortion rights in the state.
A resolution asking voters in an August election to raise the threshold for future amendments by a simple majority to 60% cleared Ohio’s politically fractured House 62-37 on Wednesday. Five majority Republicans joined all Democrats in opposing it. The political battle consumed the state for months.
Since the United States Supreme Court overturned its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade guaranteeing the right to abortion, amendments from other states involving the procedure have shown voter support for legal abortion access to be between 50% and 60%, whether in conservative Kansas , leaning Republican-leaning Michigan or Kentucky. No votes exceeded 60%.
REPUBLICAN EFFORT TO RESTRICT CHANGES TO OHIO CONSTITUTION FACE DEADLINE AS STATE HOUSE CONTINUES TO BLOCK
Last year, an AP VoteCast poll found that 59% of Ohio voters said abortion should generally be legal.
Republican supporters of the resolution continued to characterize the effort as a constitutional protection law aimed at keeping deep-pocketed special interests out of fundamental Ohio documents, while Democrats blasted it as an attack on democracy. .
Shouts of protest echoed through the Statehouse during Wednesday’s debate, and Democratic lawmakers produced hand-painted signs under their seats just after the vote and strode out of the chamber chanting “One person, one vote.”
The sponsor of the measure, Republican State Representative Brian Stewart, said the protesters did not bother him.
“You have 150 people in T-shirts in a state of 12 million people,” he said. “That’s fine. They can come and do a circus, but we expect this to be a robust and well-received election, and we believe that will pass when Ohioans get a chance to vote.”
The labor-backed We Are Ohio coalition launched an immediate opposition campaign. Other opponents include all of the state’s living former governors, former Republican and Democratic attorneys general, and the Libertarian Party of Ohio.
Kayla Griffin of All Voting is Local, a voting rights organization that’s part of the We Are Ohio coalition, said lawmakers “shouldn’t underestimate us when we run in August.”
Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, said, “We’re calling on every Ohioian to knock on doors, phone the bank, register voters, and not just let them know that there are elections in August, but that our ability to determine our own future as voters is at stake.”
OHIO CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT REFORM EFFORT HITS ANOTHER OBSTACLE
One of the maneuvers used to push the resolution through his opposition to the GOP was to delete language on Tuesday that would send the issue to a ballot in August. Opponents of the strategy have bristled at the fact that it was only in January that a new election law was signed eliminating most of the August special elections.
State Rep. Sharon Ray, who moved the amendment pushing the issue to 60% in Ohio’s next scheduled general or special election, said an election in August would add “another level of complication” to the job. already difficult local election workers.
“I made a promise to our Board of Elections,” the Republican said. “Remember, it’s our neighbors and friends who work very hard to give us a flawless election – most of them are volunteers, they get a simple stipend – and I guess I appreciate their sacrifice. “
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The tongue was reinserted on the floor Wednesday, with minor changes that required it to go through the Ohio Senate, which approved it easily.