Ohio Sees Huge Voter Turnout on GOP Ballot Question to Protect State Constitution from Liberal Activists

On Tuesday, voters in Ohio will decide on a ballot measure to make it more difficult to amend the state constitution, a change that conservative voters say is needed to protect the state from a radical abortion, anti-gun and education agenda that might soon find its way to other states.

It’s an issue that has prompted a sizeable early voter turnout, with some election offices straining under the heavy load. “This is gubernatorial-level turnout,” said the deputy director of the board of elections in Stark County, Regine Johnson.

By Wednesday, over 533,000 people had voted in person or by mail since early voting began July 11, according to data examined by The Associated Press. The number is almost double the final early voting figures for Ohio’s two prior midterm primary elections, including Congress and governor races.

Ballot measures to amend the Ohio Constitution require only 50% plus one vote to pass. However, if State Issue 1 passes, the threshold would be raised to 60%. Conservatives say the change is needed to protect the state from outside groups who desire to alter the Constitution.

“At its core, it’s about keeping out-of-state special interest groups from buying their way into our constitution, which we’re seeing happen far too often,” said press secretary for Protect Women Ohio Amy Natoce. “They’re circumventing the legislative process and going directly after the constitution.”

Democrat opponents have argued that ballot measures would take power away from voters and give it to politicians.

“The purpose of Issue 1 is to silence the majority of Ohioans and subject us to the policy preferences of a small group of extremists who have secured the favor of our unconstitutionally gerrymandered legislature,” wrote the ACLU about the measure earlier in the year.

“Just look at how Issue 1 supporters are framing their argument. They deem their effort the ‘Protect Ohio’s Constitution’ campaign. In fairness, they are desperately attempting to protect our Constitution,” added the group. “The key question is, from whom are they protecting our Constitution? The answer is — a majority of Ohioans.”

Ohio Democratic Party, ACLU biggest opponents to State Issue 1

Natoce also explained some of the most significant opponents of State Issue 1, including the Ohio Democratic Party and ACLU, have internal rules in their organizations requiring a 60% threshold for actions, including endorsing candidates, removing board members, and amending their constitutions.

State Issue 1 would immediately take effect if passed, meaning that a November ballot measure enshrining the right to an abortion in the state would require 60% voter approval, not 50% plus one.

Abortion measures critics say it is written ambiguously and expansively, including not mentioning the words “adult” or “woman,” that it would remove parental rights regarding abortion for minors and sex change surgeries.

The proposed amendment says that “every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion.”

Protect Women Ohio has committed $25 million in ad spending in opposition to the amendment. An advertisement released in May includes a video of President Joe Biden saying, “There’s no such thing as someone else’s child.” The video ended with a warning, “They’re coming for your parental rights.”

Democrats have primarily focused on abortion in their opposition to State Issue 1. Still, conservatives worry that progressives will try to eliminate gun rights as well as the rights of parents in classrooms, along with other issues seen in states nationwide.

Natoce told Fox News Digital that Cleveland’s Democrat Mayor Justin Bibb has signaled he plans to push gun control changes to the Constitution.

“We can use our real political power to change the culture of guns in this state. It starts by voting no on Issue 1, by the way, to make sure we can maybe put a ballot measure on our state constitution to have commonsense gun reform,” said Bibb.

State Issue 1 would additionally eliminate the 10-day ‘curing period’ during which campaigns led by citizens may submit additional signatures if they fall short the first time, as well as increase the number of counties where signatures must be collected from 44 to all 88. However, those provisions would come too late to impact the issue of abortion, which has already faced both administrative and legal hurdles and is now scheduled for a November vote.