What is Ohio’s Issue 1? We explain.

By: - August 7, 2023 4:50 am

A poll worker helps guide a voter at the Franklin County early voting center. (Photo by Nick Evans, Ohio Capital Journal)

The August special election is coming up, so we created a guide on what you need to know.

News 5 has been covering Issue 1 since its earliest conception in Nov. of 2022 — but here are the very basics to prepare you:

What am I voting on?

You are voting on if you want to make the Ohio Constitution harder to amend.

Issue 1 would raise the threshold for constitutional amendments to pass from 50%+1, a simple majority, to 60%. This means that 40% of Ohioans would get to choose the law.

It requires citizen-initiated constitutional amendment campaigns to collect signatures from each of the state’s 88 counties. Currently, it is 44 counties.

It would eliminate the cure period of 10 days for campaigns to gather additional signatures for citizen-initiated constitutional amendments when the original submission did not have enough valid signatures. Currently, there is a 10-day period to make up the deficit.

VOTE NO to keep the constitutional requirements the same with a simple majority.

“Our state Legislature is asking us to vote to weaken our own rights,” Tatiana Rodzos, an organizer for Ohio Citizen Action said. “It’s a power grab.”

VOTE YES to raise the threshold and make it harder to get amendments on the ballot and passed.

“We believe that a 60% threshold is absolutely critical to protecting our constitution from these outside influences,” state Sen. Jerry Cirino (R-Kirtland) said.

Why is Issue 1 happening now?

Ohio voters will decide in November if they have a constitutional right to have an abortion, contraception, miscarriage care and fertility treatment.

Issue 1 is directly related to this Nov. vote.

After months of denial, Secretary of State Frank LaRose admitted that the proposal to make the constitution harder to amend is “100%” due to efforts to legalize abortion. After realizing that reproductive rights groups were planning a constitutional amendment on abortion, LaRose and many GOP lawmakers snuck in an August election, despite banning them a few months prior.

This impacts more than just abortion, though. Raising to 60% would also make it harder for issues like redistricting reform, minimum wage increase and municipal bonds to pass.

There has been some confusion that Issue 1 would not apply to the Nov. election. That is not true — Issue 1’s 60% requirement takes place immediately if passed.

The provision on signature gathering would not take place until 2024, which is where the confusion may be coming from.

Who is against Issue 1

All of Ohio Statehouse Democrats and some Republicans, former Democratic and Republican governors and attorneys general, Fraternal Order of Police, AFL-CIO union members, Ohio Education Association, ACLU, etc.

The number of groups against Issue 1 outweighs the support by hundreds.

Who supports Issue 1

Majority of Ohio Statehouse Republicans, Ohio Right to Life, Ohio Restaurant Association, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Pork Council and the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association are among the groups that support it.

When do I vote?

Vote at your local board of elections on these days:

  • Aug. 2- 4: 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 5: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Aug. 6: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Citizens can no longer vote on Aug. 7, the Monday before the election.

Vote at your polling location on Aug. 8. Polls open from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

If not returned by mail, absentee ballots must be received by your board of elections by 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 8.

Find your polling place by clicking or tapping here.

What do I need to vote?

In order to cast a ballot, voters must have an unexpired Photo ID such as a passport or driver’s license. Previously, voters were able to use nonphoto documentation such as bank statements, government checks or utility bills to vote.

Click here for more information on ID requirements.

Here is the list of acceptable types of valid ID:

  • Ohio driver’s license
  • State of Ohio ID card
  • Interim ID form issued by the Ohio BMV
  • A US passport
  • A US passport card
  • US military ID card
  • Ohio National Guard ID card
  • US Department of Veterans Affairs ID card

More information for voters

To check your voter registration status, find your polling place, view your sample ballot and more, head to the Ohio Secretary of State’s VoteOhio.gov website.



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Morgan Trau
Morgan Trau

Morgan Trau is a political reporter and multimedia journalist based out of the WEWS Columbus Bureau. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Trau has previously worked as an investigative, political and fact-checking reporter in Grand Rapids, Mich. at WZZM-TV; a reporter and MMJ in Spokane, Wash. at KREM-TV and has interned at 60 Minutes and worked for CBS Interactive and PBS NewsHour.