Aug 10, 2023 - Politics

Cleveland led the charge against Issue 1

Data: Ohio Secretary of State ; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Ohio Secretary of State ; Chart: Axios Visuals

Cuyahoga County residents voted against Issue 1 in greater numbers than any other county in the state.

Why it matters: Long regarded as Ohio's Democratic stronghold, the Cleveland area mobilized and led the charge against a Republican legislature seeking to block citizen-led ballot initiatives.

Catch up quick: Issue 1, Tuesday's only ballot issue, would have raised the threshold for passing state constitutional amendments from a simple majority to 60%.

  • It would have also dramatically increased requirements for getting constitutional amendments on the ballot.

What happened: The state's urban counties built up a substantial lead for the "no" side via early voting. The less-populous rural counties in the western and southeastern portions of the state that generally supported Issue 1 never caught up.

  • The measure failed by 57% to 43%.

By the numbers: The margins of victory in and around Ohio's major cities were lopsided (see chart above), with more than three-quarters of voters opposing the measure in both Cuyahoga and Franklin counties.

  • Cuyahoga County's 253,000 "no" votes topped all county totals.

Yes, but: The death knell for Issue 1's backers was the outcome in reliably red exurban counties.

  • In Northeast Ohio, the "no" side prevailed in Geauga County (52-48) and Medina County (54-46), though voters in both counties previously supported former President Donald Trump in 2020 and U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance in 2022 by 60% to 40% margins.

Zoom in: Turnout in Cuyahoga County was 38%, better than both the May and September primary elections last year and the general election in 2021.

  • The city of Cleveland's turnout was only 20%, but in Ward 17 (West Park, Kamm's Corners) more than 45% of registered voters cast ballots.
  • No other Cleveland ward reached 30% turnout.

What we're watching: Recurring defeats haven't successfully mobilized Ohio Democrats in the past several election cycles. Will victory?


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