Ohio’s August 8 Special Election
Democracy is on the ballot in Ohio this summer. Ohio's Republican-controlled state legislature has been using their gerrymandered super-majority to pass legislation restricting abortion access and making it harder for Ohioans to vote. Now, they have triggered an August special election—which historically see lower voter turnout—on a proposed constitutional amendment that will reduce the power of Ohioans' votes and weaken the state's democracy. Their proposed amendment would raise the threshold to pass ballot initiatives from a simple majority of the vote to 60% of the vote. That would mean that popular initiatives—like a proposed amendment to protect abortion access in Ohio—could potentially fail even if the majority of Ohio voters support them. Vote Forward is engaging in this special election because this proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution is an attack on democracy, and on the power of every Ohioan's vote. We're making sure voters understand what's at stake in this special election, and encouraging young women voters in particular to turn out and vote to make their voices heard.
The letter template and your message
The letter template for this campaign states factual information about what is at stake regarding this ballot measure, which organizations are in favor and opposed, and that voting "no" would protect the power of every Ohioan's vote. We still believe these letters will work best with a nonpartisan volunteer message—meaning no express mention of political parties or candidates. Vote Forward letters refrain from encouraging the recipient to vote for a specific candidate, but this ballot measure is not about a particular candidate, it's about a ballot measure that would directly impact participation in the democratic process.
We've framed the prompt as "I believe voting matters because...". This is because the content of the letter is so state-specific. We felt our usual language "I vote because..." could risk misleadingly implying that the senders of the letters (many if not most of whom will be from outside Ohio) are voting in this election. Overall, our usual guidance for what to write in your letters still applies. We also encourage you to check out our personal story guide when crafting your message.
If Vote Forward is non-partisan, why are we involved in this ballot measure?
Ballot measures are nonpartisan. Vote Forward remains committed to our mission of empowering grassroots volunteers to encourage their fellow citizens in underrepresented communities to vote. As is the case for all of Vote Forward's Political campaigns, we are writing to voters who are unlikely or relatively unlikely to vote, and we are permitted to know their political leanings, so we target voters with partisanship scores indicating their likelihood to vote for Democrats. This is Vote Forward's first involvement in a ballot measure, so there are no candidates on the ballot. The power of an individual's vote and ability to participate in our democracy are nonpartisan issues.
Can I write "Vote No" in my message?
The letter template itself highlights what voting "no" would mean for democracy in Ohio. Our usual guidance for what to write in your letters still applies. We would also encourage you to refer to our personal story guide to help craft your message.
Why are we writing letters to young women voters in particular?
This ballot measure holds important implications for every Ohio voter, but because we have such a short time to write letters, we won't be able to reach everyone. Given the specific impact this ballot measure could have on reproductive freedom in Ohio, there's a lot at stake for young Ohio women in this election. More generally, young voters hold huge power to shape our democracy's future, yet they do not always participate in our elections, especially smaller elections like this August special election. The young women voters who will receive our Ohio letters are very unlikely to turn out to vote in an election like this one—but if they do, their votes could have a big impact. How do we know these letters won't go to voters who disagree with us? We use the data we can access to select voters who we believe will find the letter's point of view helpful. Our data is not perfect, and we can't guarantee that every voter who receives a letter will respond favorably, but we have done our best to focus our Political campaign on voters who will be favorably disposed to Voting No on this ballot measure.