State Issue 1: Those for, against proposal continue debate about the constitutional issue

DAYTON — Those for and against State Issue 1 offered their perspectives Wednesday, three weeks before Ohioans go to the polls in a statewide special election Aug. 8 to settle the state constitutional issue.

>> ‘Do you know what State Issue 1 is?’ Voters say they’ll do homework before Election Day

“The constitution is not a policy document,” Mark Harrington, president of Created Equal, told News Center 7 Reporter Mike Campbell.

Created Equal is a pro-life group that was working in downtown Dayton, trying to convince people to vote yes on Issue 1, the proposal that raises the threshold to pass anything that would enshrine ideas in the state constitution from 50 percent plus one voter, up to 60 percent of voters.

“This isn’t just about abortion, it just happens to be the leading issue, for sure, but there is a broad coalition,” Harrington said, noting that groups concerned about Second Amendment rights and minimum wage issues or marijuana legalization all support raising the threshold to 60 percent, if the issue changes the state constitution.

Pro-choice backers think the issue is designed for something else.

Dayton Mayor Jeff Mims said the 60 percent “is a super-majority that is clearly not needed in terms of how we address the issues at the state level.”

He said that tonight, the Dayton City Commission will pass an informal resolution urging people to vote no on Issue 1.

>> Former Ohio governor, lawmaker discuss and debate State Issue 1

Conservative lawmakers are pushing something that would change the number that’s been in place for 100 years, the mayor said.

“It restricts your rights, in the future, to be able to let legislators know, on a statewide basis, what your real thoughts are about an issue,” Mims said, noting that he watched pro-choice groups deliver more than 700,000 signatures to Columbus recently to get an issue on the November ballot that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.

Mims said he believes the Aug. 8 special election is designed to block, or hinder that, even before voters consider it.

But representatives with the pro-life group said they think changing the state constitution should be more difficult. They claim the U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times, while Ohio’s has been changed 172 times.

“A vote yes is a pro-life vote, no question about it,” Harrington said.

At the national level, the threshold to pass a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote in Congress. Then, three-fourth of the states - 35 - must ratify an amendment before it can be made permanent.

Early, in-person voting on State Issue 1 has been open for more than a week. People voting by mail may also return their ballots at county boards of election for the next three weeks.