YOU DID IT! Democracy Wins! Ohioans rejected and trounced the concept of minority rule over the majority. Unofficial results: NO – 1,744,094 – 57.01%; YES – 1,315,346 – 42.99%. This was an historic turnout for an August Special Election! Thank You to everyone who wrote postcards, donated stamps, made calls, knocked on doors, posted yard signs, made donations and talked to family and friends to get out the vote! Every vote was – and is – important!
Results are unofficial until the Secretary of State certifies the results of the election. The official canvass is completed approximately three (3) weeks after the conclusion of the election and results will be released following the Secretary of State office’s review of the county boards of elections’ official canvass reports.
There are 58,073 outstanding absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted. If you mailed or dropped off your absentee ballot or voted a provisional ballot, contact your local county board of elections to determine if your ballot was received and/or counted.
Additional Statewide Statistics
Election Day Precincts Reporting – 8,885
Total Number of Election Day Precincts – 8,885
Registered Voters – 7,950,303
Former Governors Bob Taft (R), John Kasich (R), Dick Celeste (D) and Ted Strickland (D), former AGs Richard A. Cordray (D), Lee I. Fisher (D), Betty D. Montgomery (R), James M. Petro (R) and Nancy H. Rogers (R) all have come out saying the 60% proposal to make it harder to amend Ohio’s Constitution is bad for Ohio and the General Assembly should not place this proposal on the ballot. This proposal – resulting in an August 8th, 2023 Special Election – will cost Ohioans another $25 million: “Ohio voters should reject this effort to change a fundamental element of our state constitution that has been in effect for more than 100 years.” Citizen-led amendments represent instances in which Ohio citizens have had a means for amending the constitution to meet our concerns.
The unconstitutionally gerrymandered extremist Republican supermajority in the Ohio House on Wednesday voted to be the first legislature in Ohio history to try to roll back the constitutional power of Ohio voters.
Dripping with deceit and condescension, they say they want to hurt voters’ ability to pass constitutional amendments in order to protect the Ohio Constitution.
They have admitted in private and in public that their effort is really aimed to stop an abortion rights amendment slated for the November ballot, and to stop voters from any effort toward further anti-gerrymandering reform.
They would not have had the votes to do this if they hadn’t ignored the Ohio Constitution by forcing Ohioans in 2022 to vote under district maps declared unconstitutional by a bipartisan Ohio Supreme Court five times.
In doing so, they flagrantly violated the will of Ohio voters who passed anti-gerrymandering reform for Statehouse districts in 2015 with more than 71% of the vote.
Ohio Republicans have decided to spend $20 million to hold a traditionally low-turnout August election in 2023 to ask voters to enshrine 41% minority rule. They held a special election in August 2022 costing $20 million to hold a primary for their current unconstitutional districts.
The original 1802 Ohio Constitution gave voters no authority over the constitution, gave the governor no veto power over the legislature, and left a Statehouse able to rule by fiat in defiance of the people.
This is similar to the current unconstitutionally gerrymandered supermajority legislature that can override the governor’s veto.
Ohio voters have had a majority say over the Ohio Constitution since 1851, when it was rewritten to give voters power to hold the then-unaccountable legislature accountable.
The Ohio Constitutional Convention of 1912 expanded the power of voters even further, introducing the ability of citizen-led initiatives and referendum. Ohioans have used it incredibly responsibly.
Since 1912, Ohioans have brought citizen constitutional amendment ballot initiatives 71 times, with 19 amendments approved and 52 rejected, for a passage rate of 26%.
Nevertheless, Ohio Republicans claim these citizen-led initiatives, which are so rarely passed, need to have the bar raised because they say out-of-state special interests are taking over Ohio’s Constitution.
They have been unable to point to any evidence of this non-existent problem they are shrieking over, and their screaming hypocrisy is apparent to every thinking Ohioan:
Their effort is being bankrolled by an extremist Illinois billionaire who has also funded both Jan. 6 and 2020 election deniers around the country.
Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens, after much hemming and hawing, buckled to these radical lunatics, revealing himself in the end as just another weak, untrustworthy pushover, willing to sell out Ohioans for corrupt special interests.
The August election for this proposal is opposed by more than 240 bipartisan Ohio groups, four bipartisan former governors, five bipartisan former attorneys general, and the entire association of Ohio election officials who administer our elections.
On the other side are the zealots and fanatics at Ohio Right to Life and the Center for Christian Virtue, various gun-ownership absolutist lobbyists, and the Ohio Restaurant Association.
One of the most disastrous portions of the proposal is to bring the current requirement that citizens collect signatures from 44 counties, to a requirement signatures come from all 88 counties, and the elimination of the “cure” period where signature-gatherers can correct things such as wrong addresses listed for signers.
This would guarantee that only the richest, most well-financed special interests will have the resources to bring ballot initiatives. It would also essentially give the smallest county in the state veto power on ballot initiatives over every other county and citizen.
The tyranny of right-wing extremist minority rule in Ohio is their transparent goal. As noted in opponent testimony, they aim to give 40% of citizens authority over the rights, lives, and liberties of 100% of Ohioans, using a special election that last year saw 7.9% turnout.
Ohio’s citizen ballot process is already staggeringly difficult and burdensome, and citizens are already profoundly thoughtful over the initiatives they approve.
These gerrymandered, corrupt Republican lawmakers know all this. They’ve been told over and over. They don’t care.
They want to roll back Ohio history and bring us back to 1850 purely out of their own selfish, narrow-minded, thoughtless, destructive lust for power.
Your corrupt, extremist, gerrymandered, unaccountable Ohio Republican Statehouse lawmakers have called down the thunder, Ohio voters.
They’ve invited you into the street for a brawl this August over the majority voter authority you’ve had for nearly 175 years.
Now you get to decide what you want to do about that.
David DeWitt | Editor-in-Chief | Ohio Capital Journal
May 11, 2023
Opponents of ‘The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety’ proposed constitutional amendment are using nothing more than scare tactics, stretching the truth and outright lies about what a court may likely do in tv ads. Law professors reviewed the claims made in the ads aired by opponents and agreed parental consent would not be eliminated.
Ohioans could vote on abortion access as soon as this November. But opponents of the measure are trying to shift the debate to parental consent instead.
Protect Women Ohio, which opposes the proposed constitutional amendment, launched television ads that claim parents could not stop their children from having an abortion or receiving medical treatment for transgender minors. “You could be cut out of the biggest decision of her life.”
Proponents of the abortion measure say that’s not true. “There is absolutely nothing in the amendment that mentions or supersedes Ohio’s parental consent laws,” Dr. Lauren Beene, executive director of Ohio Physicians For Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.
Law professors interviewed by the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau agreed that it’s highly unlikely that the proposed amendment would eliminate parental consent in Ohio.
One reason is children are often afforded fewer rights than adults. Laws limit what they can say in school and when they can buy a gun despite constitutional protections for speech and bearing arms.
“It would have zero effect on parental consent,” said Dan Kobil, a professor of constitutional law at Capital University. “The amendment doesn’t say anything about children having the same rights that adults do with respect to reproductive decisions.”
Another reason is Ohio’s Republican judges would be tasked with interpreting any conflict between state law on parental rights and the state constitution.
“The likelihood of a Republican-dominated Ohio Supreme Court reaching an expansive interpretation of these rights seems to be between slim and none,” Kobil said.
What is parental consent?
Parental consent is when a parent or guardian signs off on a medical procedure for someone younger than 18.
Emancipated minors, those who married before 18 or those who entered the military at age 17 can also make their own medical decisions.
Is parental consent required to have an abortion in Ohio?
In most cases, yes.
Ohio law requires those younger than 18 to receive approval from a parent, guardian or a juvenile court judge to have an abortion.
How many minors have abortions in Ohio?
In 2021, 538 abortions were had by minors younger than 18 in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s induced abortion report. The state health department recorded 57 abortions for children younger than 15.
Those 538 abortions represent 2.5% of all abortions performed in Ohio in 2021.
What does the proposed Ohio constitutional amendment say about parental consent?
The proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution would give individuals the right to make and carry out reproductive decisions, ranging from contraception and fertility treatment to abortion. Ohio lawmakers and prosecutors could not burden or interfere with that right before fetal viability, which is about 22 to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.
The language does not expressly mention “parental consent” or medical treatments for transgender minors.
Opponents of the measure say voters have to read between the lines. They argue that the language gives minors the right to carry out their reproductive decisions, including abortions, without state-imposed burdens like parental consent.
“The Ohio proposal is so broadly worded that it would prevent the legislature not only from requiring the consent of parents before their child pursues a particular procedure but also from requiring mere notification of parents − well short of the power to veto their child’s decision − before the procedure takes place,” wrote attorneys Carrie Campbell Severino and Frank J. Scaturro, both of the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative judicial advocacy group. “After all, requiring even notification has the effect of ‘directly or indirectly’ burdening or interfering with the decision in question.”
University of Cincinnati law professor Jenn Dye disagreed with that analysis. “There’s no indication that it would overrule or impact the existing consent law that’s already in effect.”
“Even if you were to say the word ‘individual’ is overly broad because it could encompass minors, that’s a stretch,” Dye said. “It’s a misstatement of what the amendment is trying to say.”
Mary Ziegler, a law professor at the University of California at Davis, said the Ohio amendment would require the state to use the “least restrictive means” before limiting abortion access. That could be a high hurdle to clear.
However, minors are often granted fewer rights than adults, even when those rights are strongly protected.
“For example, in federal law, the First Amendment receives really strong protection,” Ziegler said, “And yet, we allow more curbs on students’ speech in schools when they are minors.”
In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ohio’s parental consent requirement for abortions. “The Ohio statute, in sum, does not impose an undue, or otherwise unconstitutional, burden on a minor seeking an abortion,” wrote then-Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Would the amendment affect medical treatment for transgender minors?
Ohio’s proposed constitutional amendment would not affect medical treatments for transgender minors or parental consent for those treatments, Ziegler said.
“I don’t even see an argument that that’s anything but a scare tactic,” Ziegler said. “If you transition, it can affect your fertility, but I don’t think anyone thinks gender-affirming care is fertility treatment or miscarriage care.”
Kobil agreed, saying the ad was “stretching what a court would be likely to do.”
What would happen next if Ohio passed this reproductive rights amendment?
If Ohio voters approve the constitutional amendment, proponents of abortion access would challenge restrictions in court.
Judges would decide whether Ohio’s abortion bans and limits are unconstitutional using that new voter-approved framework. The final arbiter would be the Ohio Supreme Court, which includes four Republican justices and three Democratic justices on the bench.
“Whether Ohio’s parental involvement law would survive a challenge under this is anybody’s guess. I think you can hardly say in an ad that they’re coming for the parental involvement law because we don’t know what it means for that,” Ziegler said.
“That’s one plausible interpretation of what happens,” she said. “It’s equally plausible that Ohio’s parental involvement law would stick around, especially given who would be tasked with deciding the question, which is the Ohio state Supreme Court.”
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