COLUMBUS, Ohio — Today, the Supreme Court of Ohio agreed that Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and other members of the Ohio Ballot Board are “misleading” voters. This is the second time in just four months that the Ballot Board has tried to adopt ballot language that violates the Ohio Constitution. The Court directed the Ohio Ballot Board to reconvene and revise Issue 1 ballot language to revise this misleading language. Issue 1 is the reproductive freedom amendment that will appear on the ballot this November.
Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights spokesperson Lauren Blauvelt said, “This should have been simple, but the Ohio Ballot Board tried to mislead voters yet again. Issue 1 is clearly and concisely written to protect Ohioans’ right to make our own personal health care decisions about contraception, pregnancy, and abortion, free from government interference. The actual amendment language communicates that right clearly and without distortion.”
Ohioans can find the actual amendment language at: ReadTheAmendment.com.
The Ohio Ballot Board, chaired by the Ohio Secretary of State, dictates the language that appears on the actual ballot for proposed Constitutional amendments. The Ballot Board’s duty is to adopt ballot language that “does not mislead, deceive or defraud voters.” The ballot language passed by the Ballot Board and challenged in this lawsuit did not meet that standard. Instead, the Ballot Board’s ballot language misstated the text and effect of the amendment. Although we believe the ballot language adopted by the Ballot Board is misleading in other ways, the Court rightly saw that the Ballot Board tried to unconstitutionally confuse voters.
On August 28, Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court challenging the deceptive ballot language for Issue 1. The coalition asked the court to issue a writ of mandamus directing the Ballot Board to instead adopt the full text of the amendment as the ballot language. The Court today ordered a partial rewrite of the ‘misleading’ ballot language.
At every turn, anti-abortion extremists and politicians have demonstrated their willingness to deceive voters, abuse their authority, use political games, and even change laws to prevent Ohioans from having clear, accurate information about Issue 1. On August 8, 2023, Ohio voters soundly rejected their “power grab.”