Issue 1 campaign update: ‘No’ leader prepares local delegations, ‘Yes’ campaign broadens coalition

Credit: Michael Conroy

Credit: Michael Conroy

The League of Women Voters of Ohio decided to use its weekend convention — regularly scheduled to settle organizational elections, priorities and budget — to prepare the organization’s local delegations to engage voters against August’s historic Issue 1 a month before early voting begins.

“A lot of this weekend will be about making sure that our leaders and local leagues have everything they need to succeed in educating their neighbors (and) constituents in their areas about why August is so important and why folks need to show up and vote ‘No,’” League Executive Director Jen Miller told reporters before the three-day event.

Issue 1, the sole question on August’s ballot, is a referendum on the process to amend the state constitution. It proposes to raise the vote threshold required to amend the constitution to 60% (up from a simple majority) and to make citizen petitioners collect signatures in all 88 Ohio counties (up from 44). It would pass with a simple majority this August.

Those in support of Issue 1 argue that it’s necessary to protect the state from special interests, but opponents like the League argue that it takes critical voting power away from Ohioans. The vote will occur a few months before Ohio voters will likely be able to vote on enshrining abortion access in the state constitution.

Miller characterized the League as a leader in the “No” campaign against Issue 1 and stressed the role local delegations like those in Montgomery, Butler, Greene and Darke counties will play in the lead-up to August — including a June 27 Dayton event featuring Issue 1 opponent and former Republican Gov. Bob Taft.

Since the August election was set back in May, the campaigns for and against Issue 1 have worked to build their coalitions, raise funds and set their gameplans. Both campaigns have told Dayton Daily News that they hope to engage voters using community outreach, door knocking and paid media campaigns.

Protect Our Constitution, the “Yes” campaign co-chaired by Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, recently held a closed-door meeting with lobbyists disclosing some campaign directives, reportedly instructing lobbyists to avoid framing Issue 1 as an abortion issue, reported. With a $6 million budget, the campaign expects to have a financial advantage over the “No” campaign.

Protect Our Constitution spokesperson Spencer Gross told the Dayton Daily News that voters can expect more activity from its side soon.

“Protect Our Constitution continues to expand our broad coalition of Ohioans who understand the importance of safeguarding our state’s founding document from outside special interest groups. As we further our outreach, you can expect to see more endorsement announcements coming soon,” Gross said.

Miller said the League and the rest of the coalition aligned with the “No” campaign called One Person One Vote will use phone calls, texts, postcards, yard signs and paid media to engage and inform voters in all 88 counties. She said she wasn’t particularly worried about the campaign’s reported financial disadvantage.

“We have the people, and at the end of the day,” Miller said, “I think that’s really our strategy, to show that we are the people of Ohio and that we are adamantly opposed to this issue in August because these are our rights, these are our freedoms.”

Both campaigns have declined to comment on their financing. Both are required to file their first campaign finance reports by July 27.

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