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Ohio vote reflects abortion’s mobilizing power

Ohio vote reflects abortion’s mobilizing power

Voters in the Buckeye State on Tuesday, with 57% of the vote, struck down Issue 1, a Republican-backed proposal aimed at making it harder to change the state’s constitution. If it had passed, a constitutional amendment on abortion rights planned for this November would’ve required a 60% supermajority to pass.

Proponents advertised it as a safeguard against mob rule and wealthy out-of-state interests, but opponents saw it as a thinly veiled attack on abortion rights. Blatant admissions from Republicans and a flood of money from pro-life groups backing Issue 1 reinforced those concerns.

The result reflects how powerful abortion is as a mobilizing force for Democrats. Ohio’s voter turnout more than doubled from recent state elections, driven largely by Democratic and Independent voters who wouldn’t have normally tuned into a summer election but got involved because abortion rights were on the line.

The big turnout echoed the 2022 Midterms, where abortion-protecting initiatives won in every state where they were on the ballot. The issue boosted Democratic turnout overall, enabling them to maintain control of the Senate and gain governorships in a year when election trends predicted GOP gains.

It also showed that Republicans pushing for abortion restrictions are out of step with the wider electorate. According to a New York Times/Siena College poll last month, a majority of voters across every region of the country believe that abortion should be all or mostly legal. Most 2024 Republican presidential hopefuls have sidestepped the issue – even Donald Trump, who appointed three of the Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, has avoided endorsing any kind of restrictions.

Protecting abortion has become a priority for a large portion of voters, especially in swing states like Florida, Ohio, Michigan, and Arizona, where Republican legislatures quickly moved to restrict abortion access after the Dobbs decision. Ahead of the 2024 election, where polling shows lukewarm Democratic support for Biden, abortion could become an invaluable tactic to boost turnout in key battleground states.


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