Portage County voters joined Ohio to reject obstacles to citizen ballot initiatives

Nearly 58% of Portage County voters said “no” on Issue 1, defeating a Republican-backed initiative that would have made it harder for citizens to organize and approve ballot measures, according to unofficial results from the Portage County Board of Elections.

The final vote was 26,503 to 19,236.

Voter turnout was high throughout Portage County, county elections officials said. The 42.73% voter turnout was particularly high for a special election in August with only a single item on the ballot.

Voter turnout for the May primaries was less than 14%. The November 2022 election saw about 55% of Portage County’s registered voters cast a ballot.

Local elections officials said there were no reported problems at any of the polls.

As of Tuesday night, with 90% of Ohio ballots counted, unofficial results pointed to a handy defeat of Issue 1, with 56.6% no votes compared with 43.4% in favor of the amendment.

See our explainer on Issue 1

If Issue 1 had passed, any amendment to the state constitution would fail unless it had at least 60% of eligible voters. With Issue 1’s defeat, the 50%-plus-one simple majority standard will remain.

It would have also required initiative petitions to be signed by at least 5% of people in each of Ohio’s 88 counties who voted in the last gubernatorial election, instead of in only half of the counties.

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Ben Wolford is the editor and publisher of The Portager.

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