Ohio Voters Defeat Ballot Measure in Victory for Abortion-Rights Supporters

Ohio voters defeated a ballot measure that would’ve made it more difficult to amend the state constitution in a victory for abortion-rights supporters.


Ohio voters defeated a ballot measure that would’ve made it more difficult to amend the state constitution in a victory for abortion-rights supporters.

  • The Republican-backed ballot measure, known as Issue 1, would’ve raised the threshold for future constitutional amendments to a 60 percent supermajority, but its defeat ensures the threshold will remain a simple majority.
  • What does that have to do with abortion rights?
  • The measure’s defeat means a proposed constitutional amendment enshrining abortion rights in Ohio’s constitution has a lower bar for passage when it is on the ballot in the November election.
  • The ballot measure failed by a wide 57%-43% margin after 97.9% of votes had been counted. No votes outstripped Yes votes by more than 350,000. The more than 700,000 early mail and in-person votes went decisively for No by a 70%-30% margin.
  • Both sides spent millions to influence voters, and the campaign over November’s ballot measure is expected to be similarly expensive.
  • At stake is Ohio’s six-week abortion ban, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law in 2019 and went into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • NBC News reported about $26.5 million was spent on television ads in the run-up to the vote, with anti-Issue 1 outside groups (abortion-rights supporters) outspending pro-Issue 1 groups (pro-life advocates) by a margin of $15.9 million to $10.7 million.
  • CNN’s takeaways from the Ohio vote included an assessment of its possible effect on the 2024 Ohio Senate race. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose was Issue 1’s most prominent advocate, and he is among three Republicans seeking to take on Sen. Sherrod Brown, the incumbent Democrat.
  • Axios assessed how the Ohio results could affect other states. Florida Republicans are weighing a similar referendum to hike their state’s threshold for enacting constitutional amendments, and Missouri, Arkansas, Idaho, North Dakota, and Oklahoma legislatures have also considered similar measures in recent months.



  • The pro-life group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America called the results “a sad day for Ohio,” according to National Review. The group said the outcome was “a warning for pro-life states across the nation” after “millions of dollars and liberal dark money flooded Ohio to ensure they have a path to buy their extreme policies in a pro-life state.”
  • The Wall Street Journal noted Ohio is now the latest red state to vote with abortion-rights supporters on a ballot measure after Kansas and Kentucky defeated pro-life constitutional amendments last year.
  • The Ohio referendum prompted massive turnout for an off-year election in Ohio. Fox News reported that more than 533,000 people had voted by mail or in person during the early voting period, which was “nearly double the final early voting figures for Ohio’s two previous midterm primary elections, which included races for governor and Congress.”


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© Dominic Moore, 2023