How Ohio Issue 1 supporters, opponents are preparing for outcome of Tuesday’s special election

Opponents feel confident, while some supporters are preparing for a loss.

By: - August 8, 2023 4:55 am
The Ohio burgee. Getty images.

The Ohio burgee. Getty images.

With Ohio’s controversial special election Tuesday, each side shared how they are preparing for the outcome of Issue 1. Opponents feel confident, while some supporters are preparing for a loss.

Months of protesting, canvassing and ads flooding TV all come down to Aug. 8.

“Never in the history of Ohio has the Ohio Legislature put an issue of such grave importance on an August special,” said Jen Miller with the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

The August special election has one thing to vote on – Issue 1. It would raise the threshold for constitutional amendments to pass from 50%+1, a simple majority, to 60%.

Miller is a part of the large coalition supporting “vote no,” the effort to strike down the ballot proposal.

“If this passes, this means more power for the powerful; it means more power for those who have deep pockets in Ohio politics,” she added.

The “vote no” team has been out every day for months now and is feeling positive about the election.

“This has been really a unifying cry to make sure that ballot initiatives do not become impossible for citizen groups,” she said.

RELATED: How Ohio’s Issue 1 could affect the rest of the country

Miller calls this effort “tripartisan,” since vote no is made up of Democrats, Republicans and third-party voters and officials — plus nonpartisan groups.

While across the aisle, some in the “vote yes” camp aren’t feeling as confident.

“I honestly don’t know how Issue 1 is gonna turn out,” state Rep. Rodney Creech (R-West Alexandria) said. “I think there’s a huge advantage on the no side.”

Issue 1 is meant to protect the Ohio Constitution from out-of-state special interests, Creech said.

“When we have these constitutional amendments coming from people that aren’t even from Ohio, it’s not gone through the legislative process, there’s not been good debate and change,” he added.

The messaging hasn’t been clear enough on the vote yes side, he said.

“I feel like Issue 1 has been confusion, confusion, confusion,” Creech said. “There’s gonna be a lot of people that probably would vote yes, if they knew what was going on, but they’re probably gonna vote no.”

All the ads for vote yes are anti-abortion, which Creech says wasn’t the best move.

This November, Ohio voters will decide if they have a constitutional right to abortion, contraception and fertility treatments. Republican leaders have admitted they quickly put Issue 1 on the ballot to make it harder for the reproductive rights amendment to pass.

For Creech, Issue 1 is about more than just abortion — for him, it’s about gun safety regulations being put forward.

“If we could get the message out to protect our guns, I think Issue 1 would pass with flying colors,” he added.

After a mass shooting, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb urged voters to vote no, saying an amendment could be put forward to change the gun laws.

Miller agreed that Issue 1 is about more than abortion.

“This issue is bigger than one election, it’s bigger than one party, it’s bigger than one issue,” she said. “This is about a freedom that we have had for over a century to pass policies that benefit us.”

Advocates argue it is also about redistricting, municipal bonds and union rights.

Creech thinks “vote yes” may be able to pull out a win, but they have “a lot of work to do in the next 24 hours,” he said.

“I think the Republicans have done a horrible job of trying to get yes votes,” he added. “I think the Democrats have done a great job of telling people to vote no.”

The major hope Creech has left is that supporters show up to the polls in an unprecedented number.

Opponents are also hoping for a large turnout on their side.

“Every voice matters in this election, and we’re gonna protect majority rule by making sure all of us get out and vote,” Miller said.

REMINDER: 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 register to vote.

CLICK HERE for more information on ID requirements.



This article was originally published on and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.

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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.