COLUMBUS, Ohio — Following the landslide defeat of Issue 1, anti-abortion extremists and Secretary of State Frank LaRose today exploited the Ohio Ballot Board process in a last ditch effort to deceive and confuse Ohio voters ahead of the November vote on reproductive freedom.
This afternoon, the Ohio Ballot Board adopted ballot language designed to confuse and mislead voters. The Ballot Board’s duty was to adopt summary language that “does not mislead, deceive or defraud voters.” The newly prescribed language does not meet those standards. It includes several deceptive changes from the full language of the constitutional amendment, which was submitted by Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights as the language that should appear on the ballot. Not only that, the new language is actually LONGER than the full amendment language.
Ohioans United For Reproductive Rights spokesperson Lauren Blauvelt said, “Anti-abortion extremists and politicians have repeatedly tried to mislead and deceive voters in their unending quest to eliminate Ohioans’ freedom. Make no mistake, the reproductive freedom amendment is about protecting access to abortion and keeping the government out of personal, family decisions."
The Ohio Ballot Board dictates and certifies the language that appears on the ballot for proposed Constitutional amendments, initiatives, and referenda. The Secretary of State chairs the five-member board. The board was divided in the vote with only three of five members — including Sec. LaRose — voting in favor of the deceptive “summary.”
“Time and time again during this process, outrageous lies and deceptive statements have been made by anti-abortion extremists,” said Blauvelt. “This time, they are literally putting their lies right on the ballot itself. These distortions of the language are a blatant attempt to confuse and mislead voters instead of including the actual text of the amendment on the ballot.”
As noted above, Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights proposed that the Ballot Board adopt the full language of the amendment, which is clear, concise, and meets the legal requirements. This language mirrors the amendment summary certified by the Attorney General earlier this year as “fair and truthful.”