Skip to content

Ohio abortion issue fuels push to make amending constitution harder

Decision next week would affect abortion rights question in November

A sign held by a protester outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 13, 2022.
A sign held by a protester outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 13, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ohio voters next week will decide whether to make it more difficult to amend the state constitution, requiring, among other things, 60 percent of voters to support a change instead of the simple majority currently required.

The Aug. 8 special election comes ahead of a November vote on whether to add a constitutional right to an abortion in Ohio. The two ballot initiatives have been tied together, since approval next week of what is known as State Issue 1 would make it more difficult to approve the abortion amendment.

Members of Congress from both parties have worked to sway voters on the question. 

Democratic Rep. Greg Landsman said he voted early on Wednesday and that his polling station was “packed.”

“There was a pretty decent line. The place was full of folks casting their vote early and while you don’t know how people are voting, it was a lot of very enthusiastic ‘No on Issue 1’ folks,” Landsman said. 

Landsman, whose district includes Cincinnati, said that voters in his district are more focused on the economy, freedom and democracy than threats to the state’s constitution, and he expected the effort to raise the threshold for amendments will be defeated. 

“When it fails, it’ll be a cautionary tale to other extremists in legislatures across the country,” he said.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office said that through July 27, 355,000 ballots had been cast. LaRose, who is running in next year’s primary for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, supports the higher amendment threshold.

An Ohio Northern University poll taken between July 17 and 26 found that Ohio voters were narrowly split on the question. The poll found that 42 percent agreed with the effort to increase the threshold, while 41 percent disagreed. Another 16.6 percent said they were neutral on the question. 

Protect Our Constitution, a group advocating in favor of the referendum, sent out mailers encouraging a ‘yes’ vote featuring Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan.

“Stop the out-of-state liberals from taking over our constitution!” Jordan is quoted saying on the mailer. “VOTE YES to Protect Our Rights, Our Families, Our Freedoms and Our Constitution.”