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What's the difference between August's Issue 1 and November's?

Black and white photo of a Planned Parenthood sign with text that says Ohio Issue 1, What's the difference between August's Issue 1 and November's?
Lauren Green
Ideastream Public Media
Approval of August's Issue 1 would have made it more difficult to pass November's, which could enshrine reproductive rights for Ohio's individuals if passed.

Issue 1 is back on the statewide ballot this November, but this version differs from August's.

November's Issue 1 is the Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety amendment. If passed, the proposed constitutional amendment would enshrine reproductive rights for individuals, according to the ballot language. Those rights include decisions on abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care and continuing pregnancy, the language states.

In August, Ohio voters rejected the former Issue 1, a separate amendment that would have made it more difficult to amend the state constitution by raising the threshold for passing amendments beyond simple majority rule. If passed, the proposal would have raised the threshold to require 60% majority to pass future amendments. This means November’s Issue 1 and future constitutional amendments will need to pass by a 50% plus one margin.

August's Issue 1 was a Republican-backed measure in advance of November's election. Its opponents claimed the measure was an attempt at limiting voter influence while its supporters said it would protect the state constitution from special interest groups.

If August's Issue 1 had passed, the job of abortion rights groups in November would have been substantially harder and maybe impossible — which is exactly what the Ohio GOP and its fellow abortion rights opponents wanted, WVXU's Howard Wilkinson previously reported.

"The 60% threshold for passage of a constitutional amendment was a last ditch effort by Ohio Republicans and anti-abortion groups to make it nearly impossible for an abortion rights amendment on the November ballot to pass," Wilkinson said.

In simpler terms, approval of August's Issue 1 would have made it more difficult to pass November's.

"If Ohio Republicans and the anti-abortion rights forces thought they could win outright in November, they wouldn't have cooked up an August election to change the rules," Wilkinson noted.

David Niven, professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, told Wilkinson that it's unlikely anti-abortion groups will be successful in defeating Issue 1 this November.

An Associated Press VoteCast poll last year found that 59% of Ohio voters said abortion should generally be legal.

"If they believe any of this, they wouldn't have wasted a penny on Issue 1 and saved their millions for the November ballot issue,'' Niven said.

But Mark Weaver, a longtime Republican political strategist in Ohio, told Wilkinson that August's Issue 1 was stained by confusion.

"It was a confusing issue," Weaver told Wilkinson. "Yes, there were people who oppose abortion who voted no, but when faced with a ballot issue that they don't really understand, that is confusing, they more often than not vote no."

Learn more about Issue 1

What is Ohio Issue 1 on reproductive rights?
What does Ohio Issue 1 mean for abortion?
What does Ohio Issue 1 mean for birth control?
Issues 1 and 2 expected to draw higher voter turnout in off-year election

November General Election dates

Registration deadline: Oct. 10
Military & Overseas absentee voting: Sept. 22 - Nov. 6
Early in-person voting: Oct. 11 - Nov. 5
Vote-by-mail: Oct. 11 - Nov. 6 (Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 6.)
Election Day: Nov. 7, 6:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.

How to vote

The deadline to vote in the November General Election was Oct. 10. Update your registration information and check your registration status on the Ohio Secretary of State website.

Before you head to the polls, see a sample ballot to prepare your voting plan.

You can find your polling location on this clickable map of Ohio's counties. Clicking your county will take you to your county's Board of Elections website, where you can enter your mailing address to find your polling location's address.

Stephanie Metzger-Lawrence is a digital producer for the engaged journalism team at Ideastream Public Media.