An Existential Moment for Ohio
Photo credit: Stand Up for Ohio
All eyes on Ohio where the Republican legislature has placed an issue on the sleepy August 8th ballot to increase the threshold for passing ballot measures from 50% to an extremely daunting 60%. The impetus: Republicans are hoping to kill a ballot measure protecting abortion which is in the signature-gathering phase. Beyond abortion, they are trying to choke off the last remaining avenue for progressive change in this red trifecta state. Pro-democracy groups are hoping to qualify automatic voting registration and redistricting reform ballot measures in 2024 (when popular Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown will be on the ballot). But those would be dead on arrival if the threshold goes up to 60%.
For a former bellwether state that has recently lurched to the right, Ohio is facing an existential challenge over the next 18 months. If we lose Sherrod Brown and the 50% threshold on ballot measures, we can kiss goodbye Ohio’s best hopes for the foreseeable future. If we win, we will put Ohio on a brighter path.
Ohio grassroots organizations including Stand up for Ohio and the Ohio Progressive Collaborative have been preparing for this moment for months. They brilliantly branded the issue “One Person, One Vote,” filled the statehouse in Columbus with protestors and lawmakers chanting in unison “one person, one vote” (local news clip here), and within hours, launched a One Person One Vote campaign with over 70 organizations urging Ohioans to vote “No” on August 8th. Pretty impressive!
We have hope for Ohio. The Buckeye State was in many ways an under-appreciated bright spot in 2022. MVP’s Ohio partners helped win three swing House races and elected progressive mayors in Cleveland and Cincinnati. If Ohio voters understand what’s at stake August 8th, we can win – with the same energy that animated the surprise abortion wins in Kansas and Kentucky last year. If we win on August 8th, we can build momentum to win on abortion rights this November. We can save the Senate by electing Sherrod Brown. We can pass ballot measures to draw fair maps and dramatically increase voter access. We can pull Ohio back from the brink.