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Stateside Podcast: What to know about Ohio's special election

"I Voted" stickers strewn across a surface.
Element5 Digital via Unsplash

On August 8, the state of Ohio is holding a special election for a proposed amendment to the constitution called Issue 1. This amendment would change the minimum threshold for future ballot measures to 60%.

Looking ahead, abortion is on the November ballot in Ohio and this measure could make it difficult for Ohioans to maintain access to safe abortions. We spoke with Karen Kasler of Ohio Public Radio and Television, to hear about what this means for the state of Ohio.

Is raising to 60% a big change?


“Since 1912, Ohio voters have been required to pass constitutional amendments by a simple majority, so 50% plus one. So this is a pretty big increase,” Kasler said.

Does this amendment have other implications? 

This amendment makes it harder for citizens and groups to propose constitutional amendments. Instead of getting signatures from 44 Ohio counties to get an issue on the ballot, with this amendment, individuals would need signatures from all 88 Ohio counties.

Why do people want to make this change?

The current argument for this change is to keep wealthy, out of state, special interest groups, out of the Ohio constitution. According to Kasler, this is a situation that rarely happens.

Ohio does have casino gambling because of an out-of-state casino operator who put it on the ballot,” Kalser said. “But since then, there haven't been any others. In fact, Ohio's constitution has only been amended 19 times by citizens and groups.”

Will this decision impact other issues on the ballot in the future?

Ohio is going to have a similar issue to Michigan’s Prop. 3 On their November ballot. If the Issue 1 amendment is passed, then it could make the majority vote for abortion access difficult to be obtained.

What does this mean for Michiganders?

If this issue is passed, and access to abortion becomes more difficult in Ohio, patients seeking safe abortions will likely come to Michigan or travel further to other states where abortion is legal.

The latest stories about what the end of Roe v. Wade means legally, politically, and medically for Michiganders.

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Lauren Nyong joined the Stateside team as an intern in May 2023 and is a Junior studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at Calvin University.
Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Radio in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the Summer of 2020.