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Ohio’s proxy war over abortion reaches its final battle

Ohio’s proxy war over abortion reaches its final battle

More than 500,000 voters have already voted on Issue 1, an amendment that would make it significantly more difficult to alter the state’s constitution. | Darron Cummings/AP Photo

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n unusual, off-cycle special election is drawing hundreds of thousands of Ohioans to the polls, though not a single candidate is on the ballot. More than 500,000 voters have already voted on Issue 1, an amendment that would make it significantly more difficult to alter the state’s constitution and bring citizen-initiated ballot measures to voters in the first place. The outcome of Tuesday’s election will have immediate implications for the fate of Ohio’s abortion rights ballot measure this November, but many predict it will shape the two parties’ strategies on ballot measures more broadly. “There are those who have been holding onto power, despite the fact that they don’t represent the vast majority of their voters, who are watching Ohio and saying, ‘Hey, if this works, this could be our tool to protect our power at the expense of people’s freedoms, at the expense of their democracy,’” said Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio). Should voters approve Issue 1 on Tuesday, the threshold to approve future ballot initiatives will rise from a simple majority to 60 percent. The push to pass Issue 1 is widely seen as an attempt by Republicans in the state to thwart that abortion-rights initiative later this year — although proponents of Issue 1 insist that it’s not just about abortion, but rather protecting the state constitution from special interests.

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