A bigger rejection: Issue 1′s failure margin grows in Clark County

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

On Election night on Aug. 8, unofficial results in Clark County had Ohio Issue 1 — an attempt to make it harder to amend the state’s constitution — failing by one vote from more than 32,000 ballots cast here.

The issue statewide failed by a larger margin, so the Clark County figures were not critical to the overall result.

After counting absentee and provisional ballots in Clark County, election officials reported Issue 1 lost here by more votes than the initial margin.

In the county’s 76 precincts, the “No” vote now beats the “Yes” by 44.

Those voting “No” totaled 16,162, and there were 16,118 “Yes” votes, according to election results.

The margin was less than one-half of a percent, which normally triggers an automatic recount. However, because Issue 1 was a state issue, the decision on a recount is left to the Secretary of State’s office, local officials said.

Statewide, voters overwhelmingly rejected Issue 1 by a margin of 57% to 43%.

Locally, voting absentee by mail totaled 1,843 people, while early in-person balloting had 5,860 voters. On Aug. 8, 24,385 people cast ballots in person.

The 37.4% turnout represented 32,286 of Clark County’s 86,422 registered voters.

Following the election, officials said the turnout was strong for an August special election.

“I’ve been doing this for just over eight years now, and we’ve had a few special elections, and this one was unprecedented,” Jason Baker, director of the Clark County Board of Elections, said earlier this month. “We were busy; we had small lines at locations unlike other counties, but the poll workers in Clark County got them through quickly.”

If passed, Issue 1 would have made it harder to amend the state’s constitution by, among other changes, requiring any proposed state constitutional amendment receive approval from at least 60% of voters instead of the current simple majority requirement in place for more than a century.

It would also require that citizen-initiated petitions receive a number of signatures equal to 5% of the voters in the most recent gubernatorial election in all 88 Ohio counties in order to get on the ballot. Currently, petitioners only need to hit that quota in 44 Ohio counties.

The issue also sought to remove the 10-day “cure period” that allows petitioners to collect additional signatures after filing their petition with the Ohio Secretary of State.

The issue was the sole item on the ballot across the state.

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