In Final Sprint to Election Day, Ohio Democrats Urge Voters to Reject Issue One

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In Final Sprint to Election Day, Ohio Democrats Urge Voters to Reject Issue One
Columbus, OH – In the weeks and days leading up to Election Day, Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters has been talking to voters in communities across the state to lay out the stakes of Tuesday’s election and urge them to reject Issue One. Since the campaign started, Ohio Democrats have met voters where they are to engage them on Issue One, conducting a number of media interviews while also knocking on nearly 225,000 doors and making more than 780,000 phone calls to voters since the campaign started. 

“They (supporters of the yes campaign) have said the quiet part out loud, that putting Issue One on the ballot was 100% about trying to rig the election against the abortion amendment in the fall. And yes, while this is about abortion today, if we allow Issue One to pass, it’s also about labor rights, it’s about voting rights, it’s about civil rights. There’s kind of no end to what folks can come for. And so it’s really important that Ohioans go out and make their plan to vote early or vote in-person on Election Day to vote no on Issue One, to protect our freedoms to make sure people have the power, not politicians,” said Chair Walters on this week’s Face the State. Read more of what Ohioans are reading and seeing about Issue One from Ohio Democrats in the final days of the campaign:

Statehouse News Bureau: Early voting on Issue 1 in Ohio ends with no waits in rural areas, long lines in urban counties
Jo Ingles
August 7, 2023

  • The final and only weekend of early voting brought out supporters and opponents of Issue 1, hoping to get their voters to cast ballots before election day on Tuesday.
  • About two dozen volunteers crowded into a shelter house at a park in Delaware County – a reliably Republican county that has gotten a little less red over the last few years – as Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters rallied with them before they headed out for last minute door to door effort to get voters to vote against Issue 1. A little while later, Walters herself did some door knocking in Franklin County, a Democratic party stronghold.

WBNS-TV Columbus: Face the State 
Tracy Townsend
August 6, 2023

  • Liz Walters, the Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party, says this is the vote that is about the future of civil rights in Ohio:  
  • “They have said the quiet part out loud, that putting Issue One on the ballot was 100% about trying to rig the election against the abortion amendment in the fall. And yes, while this is about abortion today, if we allow Issue One to pass, it’s also about labor rights, it’s about voting rights, it’s about civil rights. There’s kind of no end to what folks can come for. And so it’s really important that Ohioans go out and make their plan to vote early or vote in-person on Election Day to vote no on Issue One, to protect our freedoms to make sure people have the power, not politicians.” 

Boston Globe: In Ohio, a ballot measure by GOP may end up benefiting Democrats
Lissandra Villa de Petrzelka
August 6, 2023

  • And while Democrats know this exact coalition may not directly translate to this November or the next, the commonality of interests over this ballot measure is opening lines of political conversation in a way that has become unusual in the ever-reddening state.
  • Ohio Democratic party chair Liz Walters, for example, said that at a recent family gathering, her cousin, a Trump voter, admired her vote-no sign; they joked it was the first time the two would vote the same way in “quite a while.”
  • “On the campaign front, this is the kind of work that we as a state party would be doing kind of regardless of what is on the ballot — organizing voters, organizing volunteers, making sure folks are registered to vote and know how to cast their ballot,“ Walters said. “But when you have a big issue on the ballot like this, you have a little more attention from folks.”
  • “We’re able to engage with many, many more people this year than we normally would have because of these issues on the ballot.”

Ironton Tribune: Op-Ed: Elizabeth Walters: Issue One changes would curb voice of the public 
Chair Elizabeth Walters
August 5, 2023

  • Issue One is an assault on Ohioans, plain and simple. And we need your help to defeat it.
  • At a time when it’s clear that our corrupt elected officials are more interested in lining their own pockets than serving the interests of working Ohioans, we cannot give up our ability to put the issues and causes we as Ohioans care most about on the ballot.  
  • In recent years, Ohioans have used ballot issues to fund community investments, lower property taxes, and pay for local schools — hardly the ‘special interest agenda’ the other side wants to scare you with.  
  • Unable to defend their position on its merits and trying to hide their hypocrisy, supporters of Issue One are resorting to scare tactics and division to try and rob voters of their power. But Ohio voters are smart. They won’t be fooled by these lies.  
  • Out-of-touch politicians are coming for our rights and our fundamental freedoms. If we don’t push back, they won’t stop their assault on Ohio voters.  We need to send our message loud and clear: power belongs to the people, not politicians, and we won’t go back to a time when corruption and special interests ruled our state.  
  • And with your No vote on Issue 1, we can send that message loud enough for statehouse politicians to finally listen.  

WFMJ-TV Youngstown: The Fight over Issue One
August 5, 2023

  • We spoke with Ohio Democratic Party Chairwoman Liz Walters on the fight over Issue One. 
  • She says in the last century, only 17 Constitutional amendments have been approved with the 50 percent plus-one vote. 
  • “I think that shows that Ohioans, Ohio voters have pretty good judgment, that we have been good stewards of our democracy and of our Constitution. So there’s no reason we should give up that power now, we should continue to hold onto that power as voters.”

The Atlantic: The Next Big Abortion Fight
Russell Berman
August 4, 2023

  • Democrats have highlighted comments from Republicans who have departed from the party’s official message and drawn a connection between the August referendum and the abortion vote this fall. “They’ve all said the quiet part out loud, which is this election is 100 percent about trying to prevent abortion rights from having a fair election in the fall,” the state Democratic chair, Liz Walters, told me.

The Messenger: Ohio Democrats Eye August Election as a Chance to Prove They Can Still Win
Dan Merica
August 3, 2023

  • To date, the Ohio Democratic Party has knocked on over 160,000 doors and made nearly 500,000 phone calls to rally support for the “no” vote on Question 1, a sign that the party and its top officials know the campaign serves as a jumping-off point for demoralized Democrats.
  • “None of us can afford to sit this one out,” said Liz Walters, chair of the Ohio Democratic Party. “That’s why we’re talking to hundreds of thousands of voters across the state and laying out the stakes of this election so that the corrupt politicians will hear our collective voice loud and clear when we reject this political power grab.”

Signal Cleveland: Issue 1 opponents looking to celebrate, push polling on People’s Budget Cleveland (Weekly Chatter)
Mark Naymik
August 7, 2023

  • Issue 1 is a state constitutional amendment that would make it harder for citizens to change Ohio’s founding document. Republican leaders put it on the August ballot after outlawing such special elections. They say Issue 1 is needed because the constitution is too easy to change, thereby giving special interest groups with a lot of money an easy way to force harmful policies on Ohio.
  • Democrats are campaigning against it, arguing the proposal reduces the power of voters by requiring a supermajority to make future changes to the constitution.
  • Voters don’t seem to be buying the Republicans’ argument, according to internal and external polling and an interpretation of early voting totals.
  • Walters told Signal Cleveland that Issue 1 could spark a color shift because it has already rallied Democrats and their allies to a level not seen in years. She said she hasn’t seen such unity among allies and unions since 2011, when voters smacked down Senate Bill 5, a controversial collective-bargaining overhaul that reduced power for state unionized workers.
  • “They are turning out members in a way and on a scale I haven’t seen since Senate Bill 5,” Walters said.

Gongwer: Issue 1 Battle Heats Up Four Days Out From Election 
August 4, 2023

  • “We were up on air far before the ‘Yes’ campaign,” Ms. Walters said. “I think that hints to what their strategy was, which was to put this up in August, assume that no one’s going to pay attention and not have to go out and win votes. They were wrong.”
  • Ms. Walters, meanwhile, questioned what business a “billionaire from Illinois has trying to talk to Ohioans about their constitutional rights.”

Ideastream: Supporters and opponents of Ohio’s Issue 1 start last minute push for early voting
Jo Ingles
August 3, 2023

  • Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters says canvassers working to defeat Issue 1 said it’s the best experience they’ve ever had.
  • “75-80% of the households we are talking to are stringent ‘no’ voters,” Walters said.

WJW-TV Cleveland: What happens if voters approve Ohio Issue 1?
Dave Nethers
August 2, 2023

  • “Issue 1 could also have a huge range of impact on everything including voting rights, civil rights, (and) union rights in Ohio,” Ohio Democratic Party Chairperson Liz Walters told Fox 8 News. “It is already very very very hard for Ohio citizens to amend our constitution. The citizen lead ballot initiative is not a simple process, it takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of manpower, it takes a lot of money to get anything on the ballot for the citizen lead ballot initiative. That’s the hard work that we think is so important that happens.”

Statehouse News Bureau: Ohio’s major political party chairs discuss their strategies to get out the vote on Issue 1
Jo Ingles
July 17, 2023

  • Though there are no candidates on the ballot, the state’s two major political parties are heavily engaged for this special election. The Ohio Democratic Party is working with unions and advocacy groups throughout the state to get Ohioans to reject the proposed change.
  • Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters said the party is seeing unprecedented levels of engagement from voters opposing Issue 1.
  • “I think Ohio voters know exactly what’s at stake. I think they’re paying attention. I think that they are outraged that Republicans in the Ohio Statehouse are trying to take away our voice and our freedoms,” Walters said.
  • Walters said opponents of Issue 1 are in every county in Ohio, trying to inform voters and urge them to vote early because August is not a time when voters are used to voting. Last August, about 8% of registered voters turned out for an August primary for state lawmakers, after the Ohio Redistricting Commission failed to produce constitutional legislative maps on time for a May primary.
  • This year, majority Republican lawmakers voted to put the statewide constitutional change on the August ballot ahead of a planned November constitutional amendment on reproductive rights and abortion access. Walters said voters who support that are getting the message that they have to vote no in August before they can vote yes in November.
  • “Republicans have said the quiet part out loud, which is that this special election is 100% about trying to stop abortion rights from having a fair vote in the fall of this year. And we think that Ohio voters are not going to stand for it. So we’re out having those conversations with voters again in all of Ohio’s 88 counties right now,” Walters said.

NBC 4’s The Spectrum: Both parties push Aug. 8 election; LaRose on absentee confusion
Colleen Marshall
July 16, 2023

  • “This is about protecting their freedoms, protecting their ability to hold corrupt politicians accountable, and making sure they get to keep their voice in state government,” Ohio Democratic Party Chairperson Elizabeth Walters said.

Toledo Blade: Lucas County sees strong turnout in first week of early voting
Mike Brice
July 14, 2023

  • Liz Walters, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said party representatives knocked on more than 18,000 doors across 50 counties last weekend.
  • “We are seeing activity at a scale we have not seen in an odd year in a very, very long time,” she said.
  • While more ads are starting to air, she believes people know about the election and what’s at stake.
  • “We saw that this week on the first day of early voting in counties across Ohio, there were lines out the door and around the corner of people lining up to vote no on Issue 1,” Ms. Walters said. “I think you are going to see this as a huge mobilizer both for the August special and the November and frankly for the years to come as Republicans continue to try to take rights away from voters and take rights away from women across the county.”

WTVG-TV: Ohio Democrats and Republicans say their bases are energized over August special election
Josh Croup
July 16, 2023

  • Democrats say the timing has energized their base to defeat Issue 1.
  • “Listen this election is 100% about abortion,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters. “Rather than having a fair election about abortion rights in Ohio, Republicans are once again trying to rig the game.”
  • Ohioans gained the ability to lead citizens ballot initiatives to create laws in the constitution in 1913. Since then, 71 amendments have made it to the ballot. 19 have passed.
  • “It is a long-held tradition in this state, citizen-led ballot initiatives,” Walters said. “(Ohioans) won’t want to see changes made to that.”
  • Outside money played a role in setting up this election when a GOP megadonor from Illinois funding a pressure campaign to urge skeptical statehouse Republicans to back the idea.
  • But Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters says Democrats are unified around defeating Issue 1 and turning out to vote in August.
  • “What this is really doing is uniting Ohioans who want a better future for our state, to get involved and to make their voices heard,” Walters said. “You’re just going to see that continue to grow throughout the year.”

WFMJ-TV: Ohio Democratic Party Chair on Issue One
July 18, 2023

  • “The citizen-led ballot initiative empowers us to keep our elected officials in check when they do things we don’t agree with. So if you believe power belongs to the people, not politicians, vote no on Issue One. 

Nuestra Gente: Interview with Chairwoman Elizabeth Walters on Issue One
Linda Parra
August 4, 2023

  • “This Tuesday, Ohioans will have the opportunity to cast their vote on State Issue One…State Issue One is an important decision that Ohioans have to make about protecting our Constitution and giving citizens the right to make changes to it when we want to hold politicians accountable. We’re supporting the No vote on State Issue One.” 

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