Election Day: Statewide Issues, Columbus Seats Go Before Voters

Nov 7, 2017

Polls around Ohio are open for Election Day, as voters decide two statewide questions and hundreds of local issues. The election could also bring some big changes in Columbus government and school leadership.

Issue 2

Issue 2, which if approved would be a state law and not a constitutional amendment, seeks to control the price of prescription drugs in Ohio by requiring state programs like Medicaid to pay no more for prescription drugs than what the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs pays.

The V.A. gets a 24 percent discount.

Issue 2 became the most expensive ballot issue in Ohio history as drug companies poured in tens of millions of dollars to help defeat it. They’ve dubbed it “deceitful,” and say it will do little to control drug prices. They also say it will lead to increased litigation.

The required analysis by Ohio’s Office of Budget and Management said state savings from Issue 2 were “plausible, but uncertain.”

Issue 1

Voters will also approve or defeat Issue 1, also known as Marsy’s Law. The proposed constitutional amendment would guarantee certain rights for crime victims during criminal proceedings.

Issue 1 would put into the state Constitution victims’ rights to privacy, to information about services; to notification of proceedings, release and escape of the accused; to a prompt conclusion; to refuse discovery requests; to protection and to restitution.

Marsy’s Law backers claim more than 350 lawmakers, officials, law enforcement and advocates supporting it, including Attorney General Mike DeWine, who’s co-chairing the campaign. There is no organized opposition with ads or flyers, but there is an interesting coalition publicly opposed to Issue 1.

Besides the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Association, there’s the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, and state public defender Tim Young. He said the amendment offers no remedy to victims if their rights aren’t protected.  

While the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Association is opposed, some individual prosecutors do support Issue 1 – including Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien. He said victims should have standing.  

Local Races

Several Democratic Columbus City Council and Columbus Board of Education members face challenges from the left. Candidates with the "Yes We Can" coalition have campaigned on issues including affordable housing, smaller tax abatements for developers, and increased accountability for police.

Columbus voters will also pick a city attorney and city auditor.

In Franklin County, voters will elect several municipal judges and a clerk.