Experts: Ohio's special election is unique — and not just because it's in August

Issue 1 vote no and vote yes signs
Posted at 6:55 PM, Aug 02, 2023

CINCINNATI — While it's unusual enough to have a special election in Ohio in August, experts say there are other things that make the vote on Aug. 8 unique.

“It’s very unusual to have one thing on the ballot," said University of Cincinnati political science professor David Niven.

Issue 1 is that one thing on the ballot. It would make it harder to change the state constitution and change the way petitions for proposed constitutional amendments work.

Another thing that makes this election stand out is the campaigns for and against Issue 1.

"This has been a really well-funded ballot question," Niven said. "Sometimes ballot questions are pretty quiet affairs. A lot of times there isn’t an organized pro and con side, in this case, there’s multi-million dollar campaigns on both sides of this issue."

Recent campaign finance reports show the campaign against Issue 1 — One Person, One Vote — has raised more than $14.8 million.

There are several groups behind the campaign for Issue 1 that together have raised more than $20.4 million, according to recent campaign finance reports. These groups include Protect Our Kids Ohio, Protect Women Ohio Action, Inc., Protect Women Ohio and Protect our Constitution.

Both sides have funding that has come from out of state, according to these reports.

“Why is there so much out-of-state money? A couple of reasons. One, this is just important, it’s going to have implications, but two it sets a standard for the rest of the country," Niven said.

Niven said other states are watching Ohio to see how this turns out and decide if it's worth trying to duplicate elsewhere.

“Especially where you have a Republican legislature that is not all that closely aligned to where the majority of voters are," said Niven.

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