Tomorrow, Nov. 7, is Election Day—and for many Ohioans, there is a lot on the line.
With contentious issues such as abortion and marijuana raising the stakes, the results of this election may greatly change the landscape of state politics. Now that early voting is over, tomorrow is the last chance for registered voters to cast their ballots for arguably one of the most significant elections Ohio has seen.
State Issue 1
All Ohio voters will cast a vote on the status of abortion access and marijuana legalization.
State Issue 1, also known as “A Self-Executing Amendment Relating to Abortion and Other Reproductive Decisions,” seeks to enshrine the “right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to contraception fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion.”
In other words, the pregnant individual and their primary healthcare physician would have the right to make reproductive decisions without state involvement.
The proposed amendment, introduced by Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights (OURR) would still allow the state to prohibit abortion after fetal viability, so long as the pregnant individual’s health is not at risk.
Pro-life opponents not only champion the fetus’ right to life, but worry that the amendment would hinder parental rights, enshrine gender-affirming health care and open the door for late-term abortions to skyrocket in the state.
The ballot language does not address parental consent or gender-affirming health care directly. It also does not completely eliminate the state’s power to impose an abortion ban at some point during pregnancy.
“If the amendment passes, Ohio lawmakers could still restrict abortion beyond the point when a fetus can survive outside the womb,” outlines AP News. “With modern medicine, that point, referred to as the point of viability, is typically about 23 weeks or 24 weeks into pregnancy.
In September, CSU’s pro-life student organization Advocates for Life invited anti-abortion nonprofit Created Equal to encourage students to vote no on issue 1, citing similar claims as above.
While student response was mixed, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative, with many expressing their support for abortion access. One student in particular said that CSU is in a “super blue part of the state” and that the “shock and awe” displayed by the organizations would only “encourage more people to come out and vote yes on issue 1 in November.”
59% of Ohio voters believe abortion should be legal, according to a poll conducted by AP News in 2022. A Suffolk University/Cincinnati Enquirer poll also conducted last year shows a similar majority approval.
Read the ballot language of Issue 1 here.
State Issue 2
Issue 2, “To Commercialize, Regulate, Legalize, and Tax the Adult Use of Cannabis,” has the potential to make Ohio a green state.
The proposed statute, introduced by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, seeks to legalize and establish a regulatory division for the “cultivation, processing, sale, purchase, possession, home grow, and use” of recreational marijuana for citizens 21 years of age and older.
Possessing up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and up to 15 grams of the substance’s concentrates would be made legal, as well as growing up to 6 plants per individual. Taxes would be imposed on marijuana sales.
Since the ballot initiative is a proposed statute, not a proposed amendment, the state legislature has the power to make adjustments if it passes.
Proponents look toward the economic benefits mairjuana legalization will have in Ohio, as well as the potential to put the black market out of business. Opponents believe public safety is at risk if the proposed statute becomes law.
The last time Ohioans had the chance to legalize marijuana, they rejected it outright in a 64% to 36% outcome. However, the stakes look a lot different this time around, with a Suffolk University/USA Today poll conducted in July showing 59% support crossing party lines.
Read the ballot language here.
Cleveland Issue 38
Issue 38, a proposed charter amendment in Cleveland, would require the city to establish the People’s Budget Fund (PB Fund), also known as participatory budgeting, to the tune of $14 million.
It would implement city-wide and neighborhood-specific projects, with the allocation of PB funding being equitably distributed by neighborhoods.
While proponents insist that Issue 38 would boost civic participation and give citizens a proper say in how their money is spent, opponents worry that the city cannot afford participatory budgeting at this time, even if the concept is promising.
Opponents also worry that the lack of support from Mayor Justin Bibb and city council would hinder the implementation of the amendment at the cost of resources if it were to pass. Some individuals also believe the amendment itself is poorly written, and therefore, destined to corrupt the city.
If Issue 38 passes, Mayor Justin Bibb and Cleveland City Council would appoint an 11-member committee to oversee a process of residential voting on how to spend money.
Read the ballot language here.
Cleveland is located in Ward 5 of Cuyahoga County, which has a ballot of local judicial races and more. Candidates in Ward 5 feature seven CSU College of Law graduates: TJ Dow, Joseph F. Russo, Timothy W. Clary, Shiela Turner McCall, Joanna N Lopez Inman, Bridget M. O’Brien and Jocelyn Conwell.
Cuyahoga Issue 5
A proposed renewal tax levy and increase proposed by Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) seeks to keep tuition affordable, providing high-quality and accessible education by raising property taxes $14 every year “for every $100,000 of their home’s assessed value if this measure passes” for ten years.
Despite receiving money from the state, Tri-C relies more heavily on property taxes. And the campaign for Issue 5 places college success and county flourishment hand-in-hand. This messaging may just work; the Tri-C’s levy in 2019 passed with flying colors.
Read the ballot language here.
Contents of the ballot span city, county and state matters. Sample ballots for all of Cuyahoga County are available.
If you requested and never received your absentee ballot in the mail, you can still go to the polls on Election Day and vote by provisional ballot. However, your vote will not be counted until after Election Day, once the board verifies you didn’t cast a vote more than once.
As of this year, Ohio voters must bring valid photo identification to the polls. Permissible photo ID includes a state driver’s license, U.S. passport and any other state ID with photo and name. Read more on identification here.
Polls will be open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. tomorrow.