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Ohio voters say yes to abortion rights, recreational marijuana

People fill out their ballots at the Summit County Board of Elections Early Vote Center in Downtown Akron on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023.
Ryan Loew
Ideastream Public Media
People fill out their ballots at the Summit County Board of Elections Early Vote Center in Downtown Akron on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023.

Ohio is the latest state to protect abortion rights after voters approved Issue 1 Tuesday. Reproductive health protections, including abortion rights, will be enshrined in the state constitution.

Despite strong opposition to Issue 1, including from the governor and Republican lawmakers, supporters easily passed the amendment and the race was called less than two hours after polls closed.

Last year, the United States Supreme Court overturned the nearly 50-year-old landmark precedent Roe v. Wade. The decision put abortion laws in the hands of states. Ohio immediately moved to enact its six-week, no-exception abortion ban — known also as the "Heartbeat Bill." The law remains on hold due to an ongoing legal challenge.

A large coalition of groups came together to push for Issue 1.

Ohio voters also approved recreational marijuana by a comfortable margin. Issue 2 is a statute, not a constitutional amendment, that legalizes recreational marijuana for those 21 and older. The issue was also strongly opposed by many Republican lawmakers.

Both issues passed with roughly 57% of the vote. Republican leaders in the statehouse, however, are already vowing the victory will be short-lived. Speaker Jason Stephens and Senate President Matt Huffman say lawmakers will explore options to repeal or replace the abortion rights measure.

Ohio was the only state to decide an abortion rights issue this election and the outcome was watched closely nationwide, especially in Republican-led states where similar issues are expected to be placed before voters.

Host Jenny Hamel, local political experts and journalists who covered the election will discuss the outcome and the outlook on the “Sound of Ideas.” We'll also get reaction from a proponent of Issue 1.

Later, an update on some of the school board races and issues and a conversation with Shammas Malik, Akron's mayor-elect.

-Kellie Copeland, Executive Director, Pro-Choice Ohio
-Tom Sutton, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Baldwin Wallace University
-Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV
-Matt Cox, Founder & President, Capitol Partners
-Ifeolu Claytor, Treasurer, Northeast Ohio Young Black Democrats
-Conor Morris, Education Reporter, Ideastream Public Media

Watch the discussion in the player below.

Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."