MARCANO: Aug. 8 vote isn’t about saving the Ohio Constitution

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

There are two things I try not to do as a columnist.

I try not to write in the first person unless the subject warrants it. For example, the first person works well when writing about something personal.

I also make it a habit of not writing about the emails I receive each week, good or bad.

I’m breaking both rules this week because, after last week’s Issue I column, ugly, vicious emails hit my inbox and crystalized that the August 8 vote isn’t about saving the Ohio Constitution, as some supporters claim.

It’s about trying to stop abortion in Ohio. Plain and simple.

And something else became clear. Those who believe that Issue 1 has no chance of passing are fooling themselves.

As a refresher: Issue 1 seeks to make it harder to amend the constitution by requiring 60% of voters agree to any change, up from the current 50%-plus 1 — in addition to requiring citizens to hit signature quotas in all 88 Ohio counties instead of 44.

My position has been clear — I think holding an August election when so few people vote (8%, in 2022) is an underhanded way to take power from the people.

The haters have come out in full force, writing angry emails and personally attacking me. That’s fine. I put my email at the bottom of each column because I’m not hiding from my positions, and I think everyone — even those insecure enough to write blistering emails to someone they don’t know – should be heard. Free speech and all.

But I learned something from the attacks. These are very committed voters who will come out and vote “yes” for Issue 1. They frame the measure as the first step in stopping, as they say, “killing babies.” They seem confident that if Issue 1 passes, the likely November measure to make abortion a right under the state constitution has a stronger chance of failing because 60% of Ohioans won’t vote for it.

That’s sound logic.

I don’t know how many people in the state favor/don’t favor Issue 1 because there’s been no reliable polling. I’ve seen one poll I won’t mention by name because the margin of error was almost +/-6%, which is relatively useless for gleaning meaningful information.

But I do know that people who wrote me pledging to vote against Issue 1 are fooling themselves. Many believe that Issue 1 is so egregious that voters will easily defeat it; there’s no need to sweat it.

Really? Isn’t that what Hillary thought?

So these emails showed me an interesting dichotomy. The committed supporters who will absolutely turn out vs. opponents who see this measure being easily defeated and might not vote because, hey, it’s a beautiful summer pool day.

We’re getting glimpses that the state will see record turnout as Boards of Elections report long lines at voting stations and far heavier than normal mail-in ballots. Drive around any neighborhood in the Dayton area, and you’ll see far more “Vote No” signs than “Vote Yes.”

None of that — the signs, the lines, the mail-ins — mean anything. Those who support Issue I will come out in force, as all citizens should on a vote so consequential.

The anger toward me is equal parts passion and commitment to making it harder to pass an abortion ban. But in these angry missives, I also see fear because if Issue 1 fails, that likely enshrines a woman’s right to choose in Ohio’s constitution since polls show 59% of voters agree.

Democracy hurts when you’re on the losing side. Go vote so we can have an election that’s more representative than lawmakers want it to be.

Ray Marcano’s column appears on these pages each Sunday. You can reach him at

About the Author