How Issue 1 was defeated

By: - August 10, 2023 4:50 am

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — JULY 26: A yard sign against Ohio Issue 1. (Photo by Graham Stokes for Ohio Capital Journal. Republish photo only with original article.)

Unlikely allies came together to defeat Issue 1, which would have taken away majority rule in Ohio.

Opponents struck down Issue 1, which would have made it harder to amend the state constitution. With all of the votes counted, Vote No had an overwhelming 57% majority of the vote compared to 43% for Vote Yes, according to unofficial results.

“Ohioans of all walks of life — Democrat, Republican, independent, labor, business, rural, urban — said ‘why are you doing this?'” said union leader and president of AFL-CIO Tim Burga.

Burga was thrilled by the breakdown of votes.

Twenty-two of Ohio’s 88 counties voted no against Issue 1.

The bulk came from Cuyahoga and Franklin counties, with democratic voters focusing on how raising the threshold for a constitutional amendment to pass from a simple majority to 60% was meant to thwart the abortion rights proposal on the November ballot. But deep blue counties weren’t the only ones voting no.

Here’s a closer look at which counties voted against Issue 1:

Twelve fall into the urban category, 6 in the partly rural and four totally rural.

Fifteen of the 22 counties voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. So why did these far-red conservative voters choose to go against the supermajority in the Statehouse?

“I think this sense of fairness clears up for us what issues are partisan and what issues are bedrock for all of us as voters and citizens,” Case Western Reserve University elections law professor Atiba Ellis said.

Democracy doesn’t have a side, he added, and trade unions were an integral part of mobilizing red counties.

Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) disagreed with that analysis.

“I think one thing that hurt us in the election was the length of time of the campaign,” Huffman said. “Typically, in an issue campaign or a candidate campaign for that matter, there’s planning a year or two out.”

After the results were revealed, Huffman said Ohioans didn’t fully understand the question and that the election GOP lawmakers set on a short timeline was too quick of a turnaround. So, this isn’t the end of Issue 1.

“It’s probably gonna come back,” the lawmaker said.

The unions will come right back out and make sure every proposal like this will be struck down, Burga said.

“Trade unionists take our rights very seriously,” he added.

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


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.