JULY 26: A yard sign against Ohio Issue 1 which if passed at the August 8 special election would require a 60% vote to pass future citizen-initiated amendments including the Reproductive Freedom Amendment which will be on the ballot in November, July 26, 2023, in Mount Vernon, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes for Ohio Capital Journal)

By Morgan Trau

Ohio Capital Journal

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio—Unlikely allies came together to defeat Issue 1, which would have taken away majority rule in Ohio.

Opponents struck down Issue 1, which would have made it harder to amend the state constitution. With all of the votes counted, Vote No had an overwhelming 57% majority of the vote compared to 43% for Vote Yes, according to unofficial results.

“Ohioans of all walks of life — Democrat, Republican, independent, labor, business, rural, urban — said ‘why are you doing this?’” said union leader and president of AFL-CIO Tim Burga.

Burga was thrilled by the breakdown of votes.

Twenty-two of Ohio’s 88 counties voted no against Issue 1.

The bulk came from Cuyahoga and Franklin counties, with democratic voters focusing on how raising the threshold for a constitutional amendment to pass from a simple majority to 60% was meant to thwart the abortion rights proposal on the November ballot. But deep blue counties weren’t the only ones voting no.

Twelve fall into the urban category, 6 in the partly rural and four totally rural.

Fifteen of the 22 counties voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. So why did these far-red conservative voters choose to go against the supermajority in the Statehouse?

“I think this sense of fairness clears up for us what issues are partisan and what issues are bedrock for all of us as voters and citizens,” Case Western Reserve University elections law professor Atiba Ellis said.

Democracy doesn’t have a side, he added, and trade unions were an integral part of mobilizing red counties.

Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) disagreed with that analysis.

“I think one thing that hurt us in the election was the length of time of the campaign,” Huffman said. “Typically, in an issue campaign or a candidate campaign for that matter, there’s planning a year or two out.”

After the results were revealed, Huffman said Ohioans didn’t fully understand the question and that the election GOP lawmakers set on a short timeline was too quick of a turnaround. So, this isn’t the end of Issue 1.

“It’s probably gonna come back,” the lawmaker said.

The unions will come right back out and make sure every proposal like this will be struck down, Burga said.

“Trade unionists take our rights very seriously,” he added.

The next fight is in November. Ohio voters will decide in November if they have a constitutional right to have an abortion, contraception, miscarriage care and fertility treatment.

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this commentary piece do not necessarily the express the opinions of The Cincinnati Herald.

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