By Marc Kovac
Both statewide issues failed by big margins Tuesday night, with voters voicing their opposition to holding a constitutional convention or adopting a new way to draw congressional and legislative district lines.
With 70 percent of ballots counted, Issue 1 was opposed 69 percent to 31 percent. Issue 2 was opposed, 65 percent to 35 percent.
The totals are unofficial results; the final canvass will not be completed until later this month.
But Ohio Republican Party Chairman claimed victory over Issue 2 early in the evening, and Voters First, the group backing the issue, conceded not too long thereafter.
The Ohio GOP actively campaigned against the redistricting amendment.
“Ohioans were right to reject Issue 2,” Gov. John Kasich said. “While our current system is not perfect, it ensures that the interests of Ohioans are represented by officials who are elected by and accountable to the public. Reforms need to be considered in a thoughtful, bipartisan way to ensure that districts are competitive and fair and Ohioans’ interests are fully represented.”
Of the two statewide issues, the second received most of the public and campaign attention, with groups urging voters to support or reject a constitutional amendment creating a citizens commission to redrawn congressional and legislative district lines.
Proponents believed it would take the politicians out of the process and result in maps that more closely resembled the political makeup of the state. Opponents countered that it was a flawed plan.
There were no active campaign efforts related to Issue 1, which asked voters whether the state should have a constitutional convention.