Ohio Voters Thwart GOP’s Bid to Raise Amendment Threshold, Paving Way for Easier Passage of Abortion Legislation”

In a recent development, Ohio voters have decisively rejected an endeavor by the GOP to heighten the criteria for the approval of constitutional amendments. This outcome sets the stage for a more streamlined process for the inclusion of abortion-related measures on the November ballot, as multiple sources have reported.

The lead-up to the August special election witnessed a remarkable surge in early voting, surpassing expectations. Over the span of Friday to Monday prior to the official commencement of polling, an impressive count of more than 575,000 votes were cast, as reported by Reuters.

The proposed GOP-sponsored “Issue 1,” which aimed to necessitate a 60% approval from voters for amendments, as opposed to the prevailing simple majority requirement, met with a substantial defeat. Reports indicate that the proposal was unable to gain support and was defeated by a significant margin.

While some polling stations encountered technical glitches around Akron, Ohio, Summit County Board of Elections Deputy Director Pete Zeigler clarified that these issues stemmed from station workers struggling to operate new equipment. Zeigler assured that the voting process remained uninterrupted and continued as scheduled, with no stations being brought to a halt.

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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