The ballot board certified language for a marijuana initiative that aims to legalize it recreationally for Ohioans 21 and over. The initiative will be known as ‘Issue 2.’
The language was certified with no public comment or discussion from the board. Here is what voters will see when they go to the polls:
The board also certified language for an abortion amendment, or ‘Issue 1,’ after about 20 minutes of discussion from board members. The amendment, if it passes, will enshrine reproductive freedom, that includes abortion to the point of fetal viability with exceptions for the mother’s life, into Ohio’s constitution.
Ohioans united for reproductive rights submitted what they thought the voters should see — it’s the same text that Ohioans saw when they signed petition signatures to get the issue on the ballot.
“The truth about this dangerous proposed amendment is hidden behind overly broad language,” Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) said.
That is likely not the summary language voters will see on their ballot.
“What was prepared by the Secretary of State’s office is not balanced,” Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) said.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R-Ohio) wanted to remind Ohioans the full text of any issue being voted on will be available at each polling location.
“[The text] is presented on a poster in the polling location, and will be published in newspapers throughout the state and available through a whole variety of publications as well,” LaRose said.
The language voters will likely see includes wording like ‘unborn child’ instead of ‘fetus,’ and omits four of the five reproductive rights that would be codified in the state’s constitution under this amendment.
“The ballot language is longer than the amendment it purports to summarize. It is needlessly repetitive,” Representative Elliot Forhan (D-South Euclid) said. “It’s an attempt to confuse voters.”
This is the language the board certified on Thursday:
But this may not be the final word — the group behind the effort said they are “considering” taking this to the Ohio Supreme Court.
“We do not think that it is fair or accurate,” Co-chair of Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights Lauren Blauvelt said. “It is a deception for voters. It is propaganda.”
On both sides of the argument – they said it is full speed ahead campaigning these next few months.
“This is a bridge too far even for pro-choice Ohioans,” Gonidakis said. “And the language is a fair and accurate representation.”
Election Day is Nov. 7. There will be four weeks of early voting before then, starting on Oct. 11.