Is Ohio's Issue 1 blowout a fluke or a sign of things to come?

Voters rejected a GOP effort to restrict electoral power and limit abortion access, a potential preview of 2024

Pregnancy test with "I voted" sticker
(Image credit: Illustrated / Getty Images)

After months of bombastic (and frequently convoluted) messaging from Ohio conservatives, a mid-summer push to head off a November ballot initiative to enshrine abortion access into the state's constitution failed dramatically, with voters rejecting a Republican-led proposal to significantly raise the threshold for constitutional amendments by a double-digit margin as of Wednesday morning. Opponents of the measure heralded the defeat of the conservative-backed "State Issue 1" proposal as "a major victory for democracy" in the Buckeye state, while anti-abortion groups lamented it as a "sad day for Ohio."

Millions of the dollars spent promoting and opposing Issue 1 are estimated to have originated from out of state, making it clear that interest in what happened in Ohio extends far beyond its Midwest borders. As a perennial presidential swing state, Ohio looms large in the American zeitgeist. But are the particulars of the Issue 1 defeat truly applicable elsewhere across the country? As Republicans, Democrats, and special interest groups alike scramble to assess the impact of its failure, one question looms particularly large over the state, and the rest of the nation: Was this a fluke, or a preview of things to come in 2024?

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Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.