An Ohio voting sticker placed on the window of the Board of Elections in Athens, Ohio, Aug. 30, 2023. Photo by Alaina Dackermann.

An Ohio voting sticker placed on the window of the Board of Elections in Athens, Ohio, Aug. 30, 2023. Photo by Alaina Dackermann.

Will they pass?

Published November 2, 2023

Will they pass?

Local Democrats optimistic Ohioans will vote “yes” on Issues 1, 2

By Avery St. George | For The Post

The November general election is just around the corner and many Ohioans are wondering how it will play out.

Issue 2 would legalize the sale, possession and cultivation of recreational marijuana for people over 21. If passed, Issue 1 would enshrine the right to abortion access in Ohio’s constitution.

Topics like abortion tend to bring out very polarized opinions and Ohio is being watched by the rest of the nation to see what voters decide about Issue 1. Julianna Rittenberg, president of the OU College Democrats, is urging voters to consider Issue 1 from a different perspective, whether they agree with abortion or not.

“I think, (Issue 1) does more than just protect reproductive rights,” Rittenberg said. “(People) use it for more than just preventing pregnancy. I have a lot of friends who have to be on birth control for health concerns. So I think that’d be my big thing is just think through everything that Issue 1 would do beyond abortion.”

Additionally, Athens city residents will have a mayoral race on the ballot between incumbent Steve Patterson and Damon Krane. Patterson has been going door to door for his reelection campaign while also reminding voters about the importance of Issues 1 and 2. He said he feels pretty confident that Ohio voters will be voting “yes” on Issues 1 and 2.

“I think Issue 1 is going to pass by decent margins, and I believe that Issue 2 is probably going to pass as well,” Patterson said.

There has been some early polling of Ohio residents that has been positive for supporters of Issue 1 and 2. For example, a poll conducted by Spectrum News showed that 58% of Ohioans are likely to vote “yes” on Issue 1 and 57% are likely to vote “yes” on Issue 2.

“I’ve been feeling hopeful by, like, the amount of early voting I’ve been seeing,” Rittenberg said. “All I can do is hope.”

Rittenberg is also an employee for the Athens County Democratic party and has encouraged Athens County residents to vote “yes” on Issues 1 and 2. She said that she feels very positive about how things have been going in Athens County.

“They have a lot of volunteers who are out canvassing every weekend and from what I’ve just been hearing at work, it sounds like it's going well,” Rittenberg said.

Florenz Plassmann, a political science professor at OU, specializes in electoral reform and collective decision-making and how it relates to elections. He said many factors will affect voters' decisions and their decision-making process.

“Voting in elections is one way of making collective decisions, and we have made collective decisions through voting for a long time,” Plassmann said.

Plassmann said the main factors of election outcomes include how well-informed voters are going into elections, how many have made up their minds early on and how open voters are to opinions from the other side. Plassmann said he believes that many Americans are stuck to their own ideals and refuse to listen to people who have other opinions.

“I think we live in a very polarized society, and I’m afraid people very often make up their minds and close their ears to opinions that might make them think,” Plassmann said. “(It) seems important that we have more dialogue and less pounding on the table.”

AUTHOR: Avery St. George

EDITOR: Donovan Hunt

COPY EDITOR: Addie Hedges

PHOTOGRAPHY: Alaina Dackermann