You did it, Ohio!
Republican efforts to raise ballot measure standards FAILS
I could not be more thrilled to tell you all that Ohio voters have overwhelmingly rejected Issue 1! Today’s special election was an attempt by Republicans to raise the standard for ballot measures and make it harder for a pro-choice amendment to pass this November. (Despite months of GOP lawmakers claiming that Issue 1 and had nothing to do with reproductive rights, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose eventually admitted that the move was “100%” about defeating the abortion rights amendment.)
And Issue 1 didn’t just fail—it failed fucking spectacularly: The New York Times reports that initial results showed Issue 1 losing by a roughly 3 to 2 margin. A spokesperson for Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights told NBC News, “Ohioans saw Issue 1 for what it was—an attempt to deny our families a voice, even when it comes to our most personal decisions.”
And Liz Walters, chair of the Ohio Democratic Party, said, “They put this issue on the August ballot kind of taking a bet that most Ohioans weren’t going to pay attention and weren’t going to see this as the naked power grab that it is.” But man oh man did voters see it exactly for what it was.
Tonight’s victory means that when Ohioans cast a vote on abortion rights this November, the issue will be decided by a simple majority. (Issue 1 would have required 60% of the vote.) Polling out of the state shows that about 58% of Ohio voters support enshrining abortion rights protections in the state constitution. And as we know from recent wins out of Kansas and Kentucky, when abortion rights are put directly to voters, abortion rights win. So this is super exciting and promising news.
Obviously, that doesn’t meant the road ahead is without hurdles. As I mentioned in today’s newsletter, conservative lawmakers and anti-abortion activists have already filed a lawsuit (the second of its kind) trying to keep the pro-choice amendment off the November ballot. So I don’t expect Republicans will stop their attacks on democracy anytime soon.
And if I’ve learned anything from writing about abortion every day since Roe was overturned, it’s that conservatives will do anything to keep this issue away from voters—because they know that they will lose. That’s why they’re resorting to attacks on trans people, and why they’re spreading lies and scare tactics invoking ‘parental rights’: abortion is too popular, and they’re desperate. And while that desperation makes conservatives weak, it also makes them incredibly dangerous.
There is no bottom of the barrel for them on this issue. There’s no rule they won’t break, no line they won’t cross. So we need to be ready; not just in Ohio, but everywhere.
Because at the end of the day, all abortion bans are anti-democratic: Americans want abortion to be legal, and restrictions are being passed against our wishes. That’s why I don’t worry about ‘preaching to the choir’ or changing hearts and minds on abortion. We have the votes and the support we need—this is not an issue of getting people over to our side! It’s about a small group of extremist legislators imposing abortion bans on the vast majority of voters who don’t want them.
“[T]hey are an insult to citizenship, depriving half of Americans the ability to live their lives with freedom, dignity, bodily integrity and self-determination—preconditions to any meaningful, equal status as citizens. It makes sense that Republicans would embark on sneaky, procedural efforts to undermine abortion in pursuit of this same project. They don’t want to allow women to live as full, equal citizens.”
While Republicans will continue to do anything they can to prevent us from living full and equal lives, tonight Ohio voters said absolutely not. So a huge congratulations to the activists and volunteers who got folks to the polls, and ensured democracy won another day. I’m in awe of you all.
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