Abortion, unemployment, police shootings on minds of young Ohio midterm voters

The battle for the Senate seat is hot in the state of Ohio. Democratic congressional candidate Tim Ryan is locked in a competitive race with Republican challenger JD Vance, who took $28 million in airtime funding from a PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Protesters and family members walk past Columbus Police Headquarters on the streets of downtown Columbus following the death of Donovan Lewis, the 20-year-old man who was fatally shot by a Columbus police officer on September 2, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch via the USA Today Network

ABC News hit the campaign trail, asking young voters in Columbus and Ohio State University about the issues they care about most in the midterm elections.

This year’s midterm elections are expected to be the most consequential since the fate of abortion laws is now in the hands of the states after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Abortion, cost of life

“A lot of women don’t even know they’re pregnant until six weeks in. I think that’s weird, it’s cruel, and it’s clearly laws made by people who have never had babies,” said Ashley McCoy of Columbus, referring to state. a six-week abortion ban, making the procedure illegal after fetal heart activity is detected, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

PHOTO: Columbus, Ohio native Ashley McCoy tells ABC News that abortion is a top issue on her mind as she anticipates going to the polls in November.

Columbus, Ohio, native Ashley McCoy tells ABC News that abortion is a top issue on her mind as she looks forward to heading to the polls in November.

ABC News

“I understand pro-life and I’m all for it if that’s what you believe, but you can’t force it on the masses. It’s not right,” McCoy added.

The rising cost of living and unemployment rates are also primary sources of concern for voters like Ohio native Kristyn Schweitzer.

“My husband and I had to scale back our lives after COVID due to layoffs,” Schweitzer said. “I think it says a lot that inflation and interest rates have gone up because it’s hard to find footholds. We’re surviving but it’s not comfortable.”

Law enforcement issues, student debt

The treatment of black men by law enforcement is another issue that concerns some Ohioans as the Columbus Police Department comes under fire for the fatal shooting of Donovan Lewis — a black man who was fatally shot by police on Tuesday. showed footage released by a police body cam.

Andrew Pierce, a senior and student body president at Ohio State University, says it’s time to have a conversation about what policing looks like in the future.

PHOTO: Ohio State University senior Andrew Pierce says it's time to talk about what policing looks like in the future.

Ohio State University senior Andrew Pierce says it’s time to have a conversation about what policing looks like in the future.

ABC News

“How do we go about policing, but also how do we just create a safe society for everyone?” Pierce said.

And President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel up to $10,000 in federal student loans was also on the minds of students, who applauded the plan, but some said they also believe more could be done to ease the burden.

“I feel like right now $10,000 is a lot of money, but it’s also nowhere near what students here regularly raise,” said Zoe Lawler, a senior at Ohio State University majoring in genetics. “Ten thousand dollars. It’s like a drop in the bucket,” Lawler said.

PHOTO: Hannah Emerson, 22, director of operations for a technology company in Ohio, fills out her ballot during primary voting, May 3, 2022, in Lordstown, Ohio.

Hannah Emerson, 22, director of operations for a technology company in Ohio, fills out her ballot during primary voting, May 3, 2022, in Lordstown, Ohio.

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Herb Asher, a political science professor at Ohio State University, told ABC News that the issues Ohio voters reported were not surprising.

“I think the economy has always been at the top of the lists that Ohioans worry about, in part because Ohio is a state that has lost so many good-paying manufacturing jobs,” he said.

PHOTO: Ohio State University professor Herb Asher told ABC News that the issues Ohio voters are reporting are not surprising.

Ohio State University professor Herb Asher told ABC News that the issues Ohio voters reported were not surprising.

ABC News

Asher also said the abortion issue could be a “liability” for Republicans, in part because of what various state legislatures are doing now that they have the power to determine access to the procedure, which may turn off some voters.

“Once the Supreme Court said that Roe v. Wade was overturned, that didn’t ban abortion,” Asher said. “That just sent the issue back to the states. And a lot of the states are doing some really, very restrictive, very conservative and in some cases, very extreme things.”

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