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Issues 1 and 2 expected to draw higher voter turnout in off-year election

An Ohio voter fills out a paper ball
Michael Conroy)
An Ohio voter fills out a paper ballot at the Everybody Fitness Center in Dayton, Ohio Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

The campaigns for the November election are gearing up as early voting in Ohio is scheduled to begin in two weeks. Two issues on the ballot are getting most of the attention.

Issue 1, an abortion rights amendment, would enshrine reproductive rights into the Ohio Constitution. Issue 2 would legalize marijuana for recreational usage for adults who are 21 and older.

“We are proud to be part of a big, diverse coalition who are supporting the yes on Issue 1 campaign for the November election,” says Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters. “We are working in this space, because we think the stakes couldn't be higher." 

The Ohio Democratic Party has endorsed Issue 1. However, the party is not taking an official stance on Issue 2. Recently, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown has said he had not decided whether he would support Issue 2.

"We will not take a formal endorsement vote again purely because we didn't have time to pull the committee together in time to take that vote,” says Walters. “But we are encouraging county parties, local clubs and local candidates to make the decision that aligns best with their community. I think you're going to see that a lot of local county parties are supporting a yes on Issue 2 vote.” 

Walters says the party will be getting their message out in many ways. 

"If you haven't seen a TV ad yet or radio ad, I'm sure you will soon, and you'll definitely be getting, you know, volunteers, maybe knocking on your door or making a phone call to you to talk about the importance of voting yes this fall,” says Walters.

Walters says she expects voter turnout will surpass that of an off-year, non-presidential election.

"I think with an issue as important as women's health care, freedom on the ballot this November and so many folks who are going to want to come out and vote yes on Issue 1 to enshrine health care freedom for Ohio women. I think turnout will be higher than the normal odd year, November turnout," says Walters.

Walters adds the August special election in Ohio showed that Issue 1 attracted a wide variety of voters, not just progressive ones. She expects the same turnout on Nov. 7.

“I think these are issues that are not necessarily about party,” says Walters. “They're about people, you know, individual people. These are bigger than a partisanship. These are about folks making choices for themselves without the interference of politicians. And a whole bunch of folks, I think, are going to show up to vote this November to express their desires on these issues.” 

The deadline to register to vote this year is Oct. 10.

Early in-person voting is scheduled to begin on Oct. 11.

WOSU will talk with Ohio Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou Oct. 2, about the GOP's efforts for the November election.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.