A proposed constitutional amendment at the center of the abortion rights battle in Ohio is projected to fail, delivering a major win for Democrats and reproductive rights advocates.
Voters in the Buckeye State rejected a ballot measure that would have required at least 60 percent of voters to pass any amendments to the state constitution — up from a simple majority.
The Associated Press called the election shortly before 9 p.m. ET.
The proposed constitutional amendment was supported by Republicans and different interest groups, including anti-abortion activists and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
Though the proposed amendment does not mention abortion in the text, it was largely seen as an effort to undercut a separate ballot measure in November that aims to enshrine abortion rights into the state’s constitution.
In addition to upping the threshold for the percentage of voters needed to change the state constitution, the August ballot measure would have required groups collecting signatures to put a measure on the ballot to gather a certain percentage of signatures from all of Ohio’s 88 counties, compared to the previously required 44 counties.
It also would have gotten rid of a 10-day cure period for groups in the event that some of the signatures collected and submitted are not valid.
The August election faced criticism from Democrats as well as some Republicans, including former Ohio governors from both parties. The election was also scheduled in the summer month despite the fact that Gov. Mike DeWine (R) had signed legislation earlier this year outlawing most August elections.
Republicans for their part argued that the election was fair to hold, saying this initiative was needed to stop out-of-state interest groups from trying to influence the state constitution. But one group in support of the August ballot measure has received at least over $1 million from Illinois GOP donor Dick Uihlein.
The election also comes as abortion played an outsized role in last November’s midterms following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Democrats are positioning to make it a key issue heading into elections this fall and next year.