Ohio Democratic strongholds continue overperforming in election on abortion, marijuana

By: - November 7, 2023 4:50 am

Photos by WEWS.

Early voting numbers are being rolled out for the November election on abortion and marijuana in Ohio, and the turnout has been remarkable — especially in Democratic stronghold counties.

More than 800,000 ballots have already been cast in early voting, but absentee vote-by-mails still have five days to make it to the boards of elections.


Statehouse reporter Morgan Trau has been working on a data series related to Nov. election. For her analyses, she has reached out to dozens of counties with different political leanings all across the state. From gathering raw data from boards of elections, she has been able to give a look at the upcoming election.

The first piece focused on early voting data in comparison to the August special election. The second featured the financial differences between supporters and opponents of Issue 1. The third evaluated the demographics of who was voting early and where.

For full disclosure, Ohio has more GOP-leaning counties with fewer people in them than the fewer Democratic-leaning counties that have larger population numbers.

Cuyahoga, Franklin (which has Columbus) and Hamilton (which has Cincinnati) were the determiners in the August election. Although they each vote Democratic, Cuyahoga and Franklin counties are the strongholds in the state.

She took a look at early voting numbers for these counties, and the numbers were rounded for clarity. For full transparency, the November election lost one day of early voting in comparison to the August special election. Still, each county has seen an increase in voters from the already unexpectedly high turnout from the special election.

Cuyahoga has had 21,000 people vote early in person with 96,000 absentee ballots requests — this is a 16% increase from August. Franklin has had 52,000 in-person with 50,000 ballot requests — this is a 36% increase from August. Hamilton has had 36,000 in-person with 63,000 requests — this is a 7% increase from Aug. These numbers are likely to increase even more, since tens of thousands of vote-by-mail ballots haven’t been received or counted yet.

Cuyahoga Democrats requested 50,000 ballots, Republicans 20,000 and nonpartisan 30,000. Hamilton Democrats requested 17,500, Republicans 10,500 and nonpartisan 35,000.

As of Oct. 31, Franklin Democrats requested more than 10,000, Republicans 8,000 and nonpartisan about 30,000. Franklin has not provided the updated data to News 5 yet.

Cuyahoga County had a 40% turnout in August, according to Mike West with the Board of Elections. However, he anticipates 45-50% for November.

“We’re very happy that people came out in such great numbers on the weekend,” West said. “We see this as an indication that we’re gonna have a pretty busy day tomorrow.”

Some Republican strongholds are also increasing in turnout. While voters there tend to show up to vote in person, there was a push this year to get more conservatives to vote early.

What is Issue 1?

The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety” would allow every person to have the legal choice on abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care and continuing a pregnancy. It would also prohibit the state from interfering or penalizing an individual’s voluntary exercise of this right or anyone or entity that helps in utilizing this right.

RELATED: What is Ohio Issue 1? We explain the abortion amendment

What is Issue 2?

Marijuana Legalization Initiative would let voters choose if Ohio should legalize marijuana for adults 21 and up. If passed, Ohioans would also be able to grow up to six plants. In addition, The proposal would impose a 10% tax at the point of sale for each transaction.

RELATED: Issue 2, recreational marijuana and how it would impact Ohio

When do I vote?

Vote at your polling location on Nov. 7.

Polls open from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Find your polling place by clicking or tapping here.

Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 6. If not returned by mail, absentee ballots must be received by your board of elections by 7:30 p.m.

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 register 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.

This article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com 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.

Follow WEWS statehouse reporter Morgan Trau on Twitter and Facebook.



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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.