Columbus, OH – Last night, voters in Ohio decisively rejected a proposal from right-wing politicians and special interests to end majority rule in Ohio and preemptively block a constitutional amendment to defend reproductive rights. Issue 1 failed 57% to 43%, meaning that future ballot measures will need to pass by a simple majority in Ohio as they have for the past 112 years. 

The Fairness Project, which works to defend the ballot measure process from attacks like Issue 1, helped to lead the “No” effort and is gearing up for more fights to protect voters’ rights to use direct democracy when their politicians fail them. See below for national media coverage of the Issue 1 campaign and the Fairness Project: 

The New York Times: Ohio Voters Reject Constitutional Change Intended to Thwart Abortion Amendment

Organizations that opposed the proposal called the vote a decisive rebuff of the State Legislature, which had ordered the referendum in an attempt to derail a November vote on a constitutional amendment that would guarantee abortion rights.

“It was about a direct connection with the abortion issue for many voters,” said Kelly Hall, the executive director of the Fairness Project, one of the leaders of the Ohio campaign against the proposal. “But there were many others who saw it as a power grab by some legislators. The resounding rejection of their attempt means that voters know what’s up when they’re being asked to vote their rights away.”

The Washington Post: Will more states try to make it harder to pass ballot measures?

“Though these attacks on ballot measure processes did not begin with the abortion issue — they certainly predate Dobbs — it has been an accelerant and a motivator,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, which funds and organizes liberal state ballot measure efforts across the country.

In November 2024, voters in at least two states — Arizona and North Dakota — will be asked questions related to the ballot measure process. And advocates for keeping that process intact say they’re already watching closely what will emerge from the 2024 legislative season, with an eye on Florida and Missouri.  

Rolling Stone: Ohio Voters Reject GOP Effort to Foil Abortion Amendment

“It is a resounding rejection of Issue 1, and it should serve as further embarrassment to the lawmakers who attempted this in the first place,” Kelly Hall, the executive director of the Fairness Project, told Rolling Stone on Tuesday night. “This is not a subtle message coming back to lawmakers who thought that they could change the rules of the game mid-stream and pull one over on Ohio voters.”

The New York Times: Ohio Vote Shows Abortion’s Potency to Reshape Elections

“We’ve never seen this amount of spending or attention on an issue related to ballot measure processes and I can tell you it’s not because everyone inherently cares about what the rules are on ballot issues,” said Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, which has helped run nearly three dozen ballot measures. “The attention from both sides can only be attributed to the implications for the abortion issue.”

Vox: What the Ohio special election results mean for abortion rights

Kelly Hall, the executive director of the progressive ballot measure group Fairness Project, hailed the victory as an “incredibly profound and inspiring day for our democracy.” She said her national organization looks forward “to an aggressive campaign in the coming months” to protect Ohio abortion rights in November.

The Messenger: Ohio Special Election Vote is ‘Five-Alarm Fire’ for Abortion Opponents

Although the results of Tuesday’s election were purely procedural and do not impact abortion rights immediately, the failure of Issue 1 will undoubtedly affect what will happen in November’s election. 

“The most direct impact will be on the reproductive rights ballot measure moving forward in Ohio towards this November’s election,” said Executive Director of the Fairness Project Kelly Hall. “It is definitely a boon to that campaign to only have to win with a majority vote.”

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