If you’ve seen the many yard signs and commercials trying to persuade you to vote for or against Issue 1, you may have wondered why there’s so much political activity in the middle of summer.

Tuesday, Aug. 8, will be the last day to vote in a rare statewide summer election that could have a profound impact on Ohio politics. Issue 1 is a ballot initiative that would make it more difficult for citizens to amend the state constitution, primarily by increasing the percentage of votes that amendments need to pass from 50% to 60%.

Summer elections traditionally have drawn little interest, but early in-person voting and requests for mail-in ballots rival the rates seen in spring primary races. As of July 31, more than 11,800 people had voted in-person at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, 2925 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, and more than 54,000 had returned their mail-in ballots. That’s about two-thirds of the number of mail-in ballots requested.

In both categories, registered Democrats are turning out at far higher rates than registered Republicans and unaffiliated voters.

Interest in Issue 1 is fueled by another ballot initiative coming in November that, if passed, would eliminate most restrictions on abortion in Ohio. Voters may also have a chance to weigh in on legalizing recreational marijuana.

I recently talked to the WKYC team about the special election, its galvanizing effect, and its far-reaching implications.

Watch the WKYC broadcast on Issue 1:

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Managing Editor, News (he/him)
Mark is a veteran journalist with experience in alternative media, print, digital and television news. For 19 years, he was a groundbreaking reporter and metro columnist with The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com. Most recently, Mark spent three years as an investigative, enterprise and breaking news reporter at WKYC-TV, where his "Leading the Land" series on Cleveland's 2021 mayoral primary race earned a regional Emmy.