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Nearly three-quarters of Ohio voters say 'yes' on a pair of constitutional amendments

A line forms inside a busy voting location near Columbus.
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
A line forms inside a busy voting location near Columbus.

Voters overwhelmingly approved two constitutional amendments — one dealing with cash bail, and the other clarifying who can vote in local elections. Both Issues 1 and 2 were approved by more than three-quarters of voters.

Issue 1 will allow judges and courts to use public safety as a factor in setting bail. Supporters said it was needed after an Ohio Supreme Court case ruled that judges could not consider public safety in setting bail. But critics said it could mean more low-income people accused of crimes behind bars and would derail long ongoing bail reform work.

Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, doesn't see it that way.

“There's still a constitutional guarantee against excessive bail, and most defendants in Ohio still get a recognizance bond. They don't have any cash bail at all. So it's not an either-or proposition," Yost said, during an election night celebration where supporters of Issue 1 were also gathered. "But I do think that there are things that we can do to make the bail system operate more effectively and more fairly.”

Both candidates for governor had said they were voting "yes" on Issue 1, though the resolution to put the issue on the ballot got opposition from Democratic state lawmakers.

Issue 2 will ban non-U.S. citizens from voting in local elections, which supporters said was needed to ensure that a future state legislature or any Ohio city or charter county could not extend the right to vote to non-citizens, which it says many U.S. cities have allowed.

Opponents argued it would threaten the longstanding right of 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the general election to vote in primaries. But it also appears to say the state’s 30-day voter registration period can’t be shortened.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.