© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Proposed Ohio abortion amendment will be on the November ballot

Boxes of signatures are delivered to Republican Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose's office in downtown Columbus, Ohio.
Patrick Orsagos
Petitions for a ballot measure that would enshrine abortion rights in Ohio's constitution were unloaded at the Ohio Secretary of State's office on July 5, 2023

The Ohio Secretary of State's office has certified petitions submitted by a coalition of doctors, abortion rights advocates and others who want Ohioans to vote in November on a proposal that, if passed, would enshrine abortion rights into Ohio's constitution.

The coalition submitted 710,131 petition signatures but needed just shy of 414,000 valid signatures from 44 counties. The Secretary of State's office said 495,938 of the valid petition signatures were collected from 55 counties.

The next step is to take the matter before the Ohio Ballot Board so the Republican-dominated panel can determine the language voters will see on the ballot when they vote on the measure this fall. There's no word yet on when that might happen.

Another issue for which petitions were submitted won't be on the fall ballot. The Secretary of State's office ruled the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol fell short of the 124,046 valid petition signatures needed for a proposed law that would legalize marijuana in Ohio to be considered by voters. The group submitted 222,198 signatures but only got 123,367 petition signatures, just short of what was needed to make the ballot.

An issue on a special August ballot will affect how much of a threshold the abortion amendment will need in November to pass.

Currently, the measure would be approved if 50% plus one by Ohio voters who cast ballots on the issue in November vote for it.

But before the amendment is considered, Ohio voters will have to determine on August 8 whether to raise the threshold of passage for all future constitutional amendments, including the November abortion issue, to 60%.

Related: Ohio voter guide: What to know about the August special election

The August proposal also makes it tougher for citizens to put future issues on the ballot by requiring petition signatures from all 88 counties instead of the 44 counties currently mandated.

But, like now, politicians in the Ohio Legislature would not have to go through that petition process and could put issues straight on the ballot by legislative vote.

Early voting for the August 8 election is now underway, at county voting centers or by mail. Turnout for this election has been higher than had been anticipated and there have been lines at some early vote centers throughout the state.

Contact Jo Ingles at jingles@statehousenews.org.