Everything to know about the upcoming (extra special) August special election

Ohio voters will decide whether or not to uphold a century’s old precedent of majority rule this August in a high-stakes special election.

Issue 1, a ballot initiative written by Ohio Republicans, seeks to end majority rule and raise the threshold for amending the state constitution to 60%. It will also increase the number of signatures required for the passage of an initiative petition proposing a constitutional amendment, as well as eliminate the extension on deadlines to gather signatures.

By making the constitution harder to amend for citizens, the Ohio GOP’s first goal is to block democratic efforts to codify reproductive freedom this November, among other amendments the party intends to propose, including recreational marijuana usage, higher minimum wage, reformation of the redistricting system, and more. 

However, if passed, Issue 1 will have long-lasting implications, not limited to the local fight for abortion rights.

A coalition of over 200 Ohio groups in opposition to Issue 1 express concern for the future of the environment, rights for transgender youth and more. Ohio’s history of proposed amendments shows that many amendments to the constitution passed between the 51-59% threshold—with very few having reached 60%.

One Person One Vote, the campaign against Issue 1, even filed a lawsuit against the Ohio Ballot Board to stop this election from happening, though ultimately lost in a 4-3 decision.

Supporters of the initiative, ranging from the Ohio Farm Bureau to the Buckeye Firearms Association, argue that the initiative will prevent special interests from invading their respective missions and protect the overall integrity of the amendment process.

Republicans introduced Issue 1 and spent $20 million to bring back the August special election for one last time after having fought to eliminate special elections in a new election law that went into effect in April. Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who backed up this law heavily, has publicly endorsed Issue 1, recently linking the ballot initiative to abortion after repeatedly insisting that it was larger than any single issue:

“This is 100% about keeping a radical pro-abortion amendment out of our constitution,” LaRose said at the Seneca County Republican Party Lincoln Day event in May. “The left wants to jam it in there this coming November.”

As of April 7, 2023, Ohio law now requires unexpired photo identification for elections.

The deadline to register to vote is Monday, July 10. Early voting and absentee voting by mail will begin the following day.

To learn more about election deadlines, eligibility, new ID requirements and more, visit here.

Election day is August 8.

Author: Mays Turabi

Avid writer, coffee-drinker, art lover. Oh, and Editor-in-Chief for The Cauldron.