Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights Sues Ohio Ballot Board

image of OURR logoOhioans United for Reproductive Rights (OURR) filed a complaint for a “writ of mandamus involving an expedited election matter” against the Ohio Ballot Board in the Supreme Court of Ohio on August 28, 2023.  The November 7, 2023 Ohio General Election will include Issue 1, a proposed amendment to establish abortion and reproductive rights in the Ohio Constitution.  Article XVI of the Ohio Constitution requires the Ohio Ballot Board to prescribe ballot language for Amendments that “properly identify the substance of the proposal to be voted upon” as well as “prepare an explanation of the proposal.”  On August 24, 2023, in a 3-2 decision, the Ohio Ballot Board approved explanatory summary language that omitted the proposed Amendment’s reference to contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care, and continuing a pregnancy.  The summary language also changed the medical term “fetus” to “unborn child.”  Article XVI of the Ohio Constitution allows the Supreme Court of Ohio to hold ballot language invalid if “it is such as to mislead, deceive, or defraud the voters.”  OURR’s complaint states the language adopted by the Board “flouts those requirements and aims improperly to mislead Ohioans and persuade them to oppose the Amendment.”  OURR further asks the Supreme Court of Ohio to “issue a writ of mandamus directing the Ballot Board to reconvene and adopt the full text of the Amendment as the ballot language” or “adopt ballot language that properly and lawfully describes the Amendment.”