MARCANO: On Aug. 8, Ohio will be the epicenter of efforts to dismantle your rights

Credit: Avery Kreemer

Credit: Avery Kreemer

Americans think the movement to take away individual freedoms has picked up steam.

Two in three citizens — 66% — believe that over the next decade, they’ll lose liberties, freedoms, and rights, according to Penn State’s Mood of the Nation poll. According to the poll, most Americans believe they’re losing the right to self-determination.

That phrase, self-determination, can mean autonomy, making decisions best for you, or fundamental freedoms. But it simply comes down to this.

Don’t force your values on me. Don’t tell me what’s best for my family. Give me the space and respect to make decisions, even those you vehemently disagree with.

On August 8, at least for one day, Ohio will be the epicenter of efforts to slowly dismantle your rights when voters go to the polls to cast ballots on the controversial Issue 1.

If approved, the ballot measure would make passing amendments to the state constitution harder by requiring 60% voter approval. Right now, 50%-plus one gets an amendment passed.

In other words, lawmakers want to give a minority of voters veto power over the majority.

Remember, lawmakers in January called the August election wasteful and not representative of the people’s will. Still, they decided to spend $20 million to hold the summer election anyway.

Why? A constitutional amendment codifying the right to an abortion has gained steam and will go before voters. Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and Protect Choice needed 413,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot. They collected more than 710,000.

Lawmakers also want to keep power by stopping an effort to create a non-partisan, independent commission to draw fair redistricting maps. Ohio voters have twice passed constitutional amendments demanding fair maps. Republicans have ignored them.

Across the state, bi-partisan citizens and advocacy groups have forcefully come out against Issue 1. Those who support the measure will soon start running ads that tout it as a way to keep special interests from influencing Ohio’s constitution. That’s rich since lawmakers have received a $1 million donation from an out-of-state billionaire towards their goal of silencing your voice.

Early voting starts this week, on July 11. If you’re planning a well-deserved summer break, please get a ballot and vote by mail.

Vote no. Please.

Proponents scheduled this August election because it’s traditionally low turnout. Just 8% of registered voters went to the polls in August 2022, according to the Ohio Secretary of State. Maybe, the thinking goes, enough pro-life forces will turn out to vote and sneak through Issue 1.

We know what this is. It’s an attempt to circumvent democracy and hope that most voters will be too busy at the beach to care.

Show them they’re wrong.

Get a ballot and vote early. Encourage friends and families to vote, too. If they don’t understand why they should care, explain it like this:

Politicians want to take away your rights. You’ll be asked, “How?” That’s an easy answer. “They want to make it harder for you to determine how you’ll live your life.”

That’s not hyperbole. Taking away the majority’s ability to affect change kills democracy. Democracy is not the art of getting what you want. It’s the art of abiding by the will of the people, even if you don’t agree.

It doesn’t matter which side of various issues you support or don’t. It only matters that the majority decides. It only matters that we maintain the liberties, freedoms, and rights so many Americans are afraid of losing.

Fighting back starts in Ohio. Vote no on Issue 1 and tell lawmakers who support this sham we will not stand for it.

Ray Marcano’s column appears on these pages each Sunday. He can be reached at

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