Issue One fails in special election

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 12, 2023

Lawrence County voted in favor of proposal

COLUMBUS — Voters across Ohio rejected a proposed constitutional amendment on Tuesday, which would have changed the standards for future attempts of amending the state constitution, though, in Lawrence County, a majority of voters were in favor of the Republican-back proposal.

A wide margin of Ohioans defeated the Issue One proposal, with 57.01 percent of voters casting a “No” vote and 42.9 percent voting “Yes.”

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Results in most counties fell largely along typical partisan patterns, with rural, Republican-leaning areas voting “Yes” and Democratic-leaning, metro areas voting “No.”

While Lawrence County, which typically votes heavily Republican, approved the proposal, the margin was slightly tighter than those in partisan office races of the past few years.

The rejection of Issue One vote sets up a fall campaign that will become the nation’s latest referendum on the issue since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a nationwide right to abortion last year.

The special election results keep in place a simple majority threshold for passing future changes to the Ohio Constitution, rather than requiring a 60 percent supermajority.

Ohio Speaker of the House Jason Stephens, whose district includes Lawrence County, reacted to the results. Supporters of Issue One had run ads earlier this year, requesting voters contact Stephens to request the proposed amendment be placed on a ballot, as the Republican-controlled House eventually did.

“The people of Ohio have spoken. It is now time to turn our attention to November,” Stephens said, referring to a proposed amendment that will be Issue One on the general election ballot, which would codify abortion rights in Ohio.. “As a 100 percent pro-life conservative, we must defeat Issue One on Nov. 7 to stop abortion from being a part of our state’s constitution.”

— The Associated press contributed to this report