Ohio voters reject GOP-backed proposal that may have made it harder to guard abortion rights

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio voters on Tuesday resoundingly rejected a Republican-backed measure that may have made it harder to alter the state’s structure, organising a fall marketing campaign that can turn into the nation’s newest referendum on abortion rights because the U.S. Supreme Courtroom overturned nationwide protections final yr.

The defeat of Problem 1 retains in place a easy majority threshold for passing future constitutional amendments. It will have raised that to a 60% supermajority, which supporters mentioned would shield the state’s foundational doc from exterior curiosity teams.

Whereas abortion was circuitously on the particular election poll, the end result marks the most recent setback for Republicans in a conservative-leaning state who favor imposing powerful restrictions on the process. Ohio Republicans positioned the query on the summer season poll in hopes of undercutting a citizen initiative voters will determine in November that seeks to enshrine abortion rights within the state.

Different states the place voters have thought of abortion rights since final yr’s Supreme Courtroom ruling have protected them, together with in purple states comparable to Kansas and Kentucky.

Curiosity within the particular election was intense, even after Republicans ignored their very own legislation that took impact earlier this yr to put the query earlier than voters in August. Voters forged almost 700,000 early in-person and mail ballots forward of Tuesday’s closing day of voting, greater than double the variety of advance votes in a typical main election. Early turnout was particularly heavy within the Democratic-leaning counties surrounding Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

READ MORE: Some Republican officers try to maintain abortion off of state ballots. Right here’s how

One Individual One Vote, the opposition marketing campaign, represented a broad, bipartisan coalition of voting rights, labor, religion and group teams. The group additionally had as allies 4 dwelling ex-governors of the state and 5 former state attorneys common of each events, who referred to as the proposed change dangerous public coverage.

In place since 1912, the easy majority customary is a way more surmountable hurdle for Ohioans for Reproductive Rights, the group advancing November’s abortion rights modification. It will set up “a basic proper to reproductive freedom” with “affordable limits.”

Voters in a number of states have authorised poll questions defending entry to abortion because the Supreme Courtroom overturned Roe v. Wade, however sometimes have finished so with lower than 60% of the vote. AP VoteCast polling final yr discovered that 59% of Ohio voters say abortion ought to usually be authorized.

Advocates on either side of Problem 1 relied closely on exterior cash and nationwide teams of their campaigns.

The end result got here within the very kind of August particular election that Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a candidate for U.S. Senate, had beforehand testified towards as undemocratic due to traditionally low turnout. Republican lawmakers simply final yr had voted to principally remove such elections, a legislation they ignored for this yr’s election.

Voters’ rejection of the proposal marked a uncommon rebuke for Ohio Republicans, who’ve held energy throughout each department of state authorities for 12 years.

Ohio Proper to Life, the state’s oldest and largest anti-abortion group and a key power behind the particular election measure, vowed to proceed preventing into the autumn.

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