Columbus, OH — In a major win for democracy and reproductive rights, voters in Ohio have rejected a proposal from right-wing politicians and special interests to make citizen-led ballot measures more difficult to pass.

Issue 1, the only question on the ballot in today’s special election, was rejected by voters Tuesday night. If successful, Issue 1 would have destroyed majority rule for ballot measures and doubled the geographic requirement for signature collection

Issue 1 was proposed by the Ohio General Assembly in an effort to block a citizen-initiated ballot measure to enshrine reproductive rights into the Ohio state constitution. Since voters rejected Issue 1, the reproductive rights measure — which officially qualified for the ballot in July — will need a simple majority of “Yes” votes to pass in November.

In response to this victory for Ohioans, Fairness Project executive director Kelly Hall issued the following statement: 

“This is an incredibly profound and inspiring day for our democracy. When faced with the choice of whether to allow politicians and special interests to consolidate power and strip voters of their rights, Ohioans fought back. The defeat of Issue 1 should send a clear message to other extremist officials around the country that democracy will not die; people are ready to defend their rights against blatant attacks like Issue 1.

“We are also thrilled that voters will get a true say in the question of defending reproductive freedom this November. The Fairness Project is ready to stand with Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights and looks forward to an aggressive campaign in the coming months to protect abortion rights through the ballot measure process.

“Congratulations to the One Person, One Vote campaign and its many coalition members on this crucial victory.”  

In addition to this victory, the Fairness Project has defeated other proposals to undo majority rule for ballot measures. In June 2022, the Fairness Project worked with coalition partners in South Dakota to defeat a 60% threshold proposal ahead of a vote on Medicaid expansion, and also worked with Arkansas organizers to defeat a similar proposal in November. These wins are part of the Fairness Project’s Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign. Read more about it here.

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