How many voters does it take to make a majority? Why Ohio’s Issue 1 is controversial

Ohio voters will decide on Issue 1, a measure which could raise the threshold for voter approval of amendments to Ohio’s constitution from a simple majority to 60%.

The backstory: The proposal for Issue 1 came from Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who argues it’s about keeping out-of-state special interests from influencing Ohio’s constitution.
* If passed, the new rule will need 60% approval for future constitutional amendments, a change from the current simple majority requirement that has been in place since 1912.
* Opponents, however, believe that the timing of Issue 1 is aimed at preventing a potential November ballot that could establish reproductive rights in the state constitution.

The impact: Issue 1’s impact on abortion access began when Ohio’s six-week abortion ban came into effect, sparking a move to secure abortion access in the state’s constitution.
* Groups opposing the ban mobilized to draft this amendment and started gathering signatures for a November ballot issue.
* In response, Republican lawmakers initiated the idea of raising voter approval to 60% for amendments, leading to the August special election for Issue 1.

Controversy: Issue 1 has sparked widespread controversy and protest, with opponents arguing that the raised approval threshold and additional regulations would make it nearly impossible for grassroots groups to get amendments on the ballot.
* A large coalition formed to oppose the change, and hundreds protested at the Statehouse in May.
* Despite the protests, Republican lawmakers passed the plan, prompting an unsuccessful lawsuit from opponents.
* The issue has attracted national attention, with opposition including union groups, abortion rights and gun law reform groups, Ohio’s four living ex-governors and five former attorneys general from both parties.

By the numbers: The campaign around Issue 1 has seen an estimated $22 million spent on advertising, with much of this funding coming from outside Ohio.
* Despite the unusual timing of the election during August vacation season, early voting has seen long lines reported in some counties.
* Issue 1 is the only item on the ballot for the Tuesday election.

View original article on NPR

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