Source: News & Observer
Earlier this month, voters in Ohio rejected a proposal that would have raised the threshold for amending the state constitution from a simple majority to a 60% supermajority. The Issue 1 measure was a blatant attempted power grab by state Republican lawmakers, who wanted to make it more difficult for a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights, due on the ballot in November, to pass.
The measure, which was cynically put up for a vote in an otherwise sleepy August election, failed by a wide margin – 57% no to 43% yes – with over 3 million votes cast. The election drew nearly twice as many votes than the primaries for governor, Senate, House and other statewide races did last year. And opposition came not only from big cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati, but also from suburban and blue-collar counties that have a history of voting Republican.
Ohio is just the latest in a series of states where voters have shown their support for abortion rights at the ballot box. In 2022, voters in Kansas and Kentucky rejected constitutional amendments that would have banned abortion in their state, while voters in Michigan, California, and Vermont approved constitutional amendments that protected abortion rights.
But here in North Carolina, voters have not been able to have their say on abortion legislation. North Carolina does not allow citizen-initiated ballot measures, and constitutional amendments can only be put on the ballot with a three-fifths vote of the legislature.
Polling has repeatedly shown that North Carolina voters support abortion access and oppose further restrictions, and yet the Republican-led legislature ignored the will of the people and rushed through an extreme abortion ban earlier this year.
For now, North Carolina voters can have their biggest say in next year’s gubernatorial election, which will likely be between Democrat Josh Stein, the pro-choice N.C. Attorney General who has refused to defend the new ban in court, and Republican Mark Robinson, who has repeatedly made derogatory comments about women and supports a total abortion ban. The latest polling on the race indicates it will be a very close contest.