More HB 194 petition signing info — Trumbull County!

Hey, Warren! Turn off that old Moody Blues record (inside joke) and get over to Niles on Wednesday evening to sign that petition to repeal the voter suppression bill. There will be a Trumbull county drive-thru signing evening from 4-6 p.m. this Wednesday, September 7 at the McMenamy’s Restaurant and Banquet Center parking lot, 325 Youngstown-Warren Rd. (rte 422) in Niles. What that means is you can head over after work and jot your name on that petition without even getting out of your car. Roll down your window, they'll hand you the clipboard, and you're on your way home for dinner in 30 seconds. For more information: Contact Kathy at

By the way, we are hearing plenty of encouraging news about how the signature gathering is going. Keep up the effort, everyone, and if you have not signed, please do not miss the opportunity! There were a ton of people out today with petitions at the 11th Congressional District Community Caucus Labor Day Parade and Picnic — I don't think anyone escaped without being asked about ten times if they had signed, so I don't think anyone was missed.

Jim DeMint gets even crazier

Jim DeMint is crazy. He’s been crazy. And just when you think he can’t get any crazier, he does.

Jim DeMint was on ABC’s This Week in which he discussed President Obama’s upcoming speech on job creation. His statement about the speech:

"I'm, frankly, very tired of speeches. I don't want to be disrespectful to the president, but what I want to see is something in writing,"

He goes on to say:

"You know, extending unemployment [insurance], cutting payroll taxes, offering tax credits when you hire someone, I haven't heard one business say things like this."

Is Jim DeMint deaf? He says he hasn’t heard one business say they want these things? Ok, if that’s the case, then why have the Republicans/Tea Party been pushing these policies for so long? Jim DeMint really doesn’t know any companies that would like a cut in payroll taxes?

Instead of these policies DeMint states:

”business want the government to oppose unions and eliminate regulations, which he said would create "certainty."

So the new job creation policies of the Republicans/Tea Party is to oppose unions and eliminate regulations.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at these two policies and see that they will create no jobs. If anything, we’ll see a loss of even more jobs. Unions have been dying a slow death for the past few decades. If getting rid of them creates jobs, should we not have seen a steady increase in jobs? And when we talk about regulations, what regulations are we talking about. Jim DeMint wants to see things in writing, well, he should put in writing what regulations he wants done away with to create this new utopia of job creation. And if all Mr. DeMint can come back with are things like doing away with the entire EPA, let’s look at other countries that are that relaxed in such policies. How about China? The air quality is great there isn’t it?

HB 194 signing locations this weekend: Franklin County/Columbus

Hey, there's a location in Westerville! That's where Kasich lives. Why don't you stop and pick him up on your way down so he can sign too? Ha ha.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Clintonville Farmers' Market
N. High St. between Orchard Lane and West Dunedin

Outside the Driving Park Library
566 East Livingston Avenue

Volunteer Home
2567 Westmont Bl.

Outside Old Worthington Library
820 High Street

Columbus Metro Library Southeast Branch
3980 S. Hamilton Rd

Columbus Metro Library Gahanna Branch
310 Granville Street

Columbus Metro Library Livingston Ave
3434 Livingston Avenue

Columbus Metro Library Reynoldsburg Branch
1402 Brice Rd.

Columbus Metro Library Whitehall Branch
4371 E. Broad Street

Westerville Public Library
126 South State Street

Karl Road Library
5590 Karl Rd.

Outside MLK Library
1600 E. Long St.

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
555 N. High Street

Corner of High Street and Buttles Street
High St at Buttles St

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cornerstone Cafe
3296 North High Street

2567 Westmont Bl.

Outside Parsons Library
845 Parsons Avenue

Meijer Drive between the Meijer & Target Shopping centers
8000 E Broad St

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
555 N. High Street

Scioto Mile
25 Marconi Boulevard

Monday, September 5, 2011

Northam Park
2070 Northam Rd.
Upper Arlington

Schiller Park in German Village
By the statute in the center of the park.

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Ganging up on nasty hypocrites!

Following up on my previous post about state rep. Bob Hagan's bill to drug and alcohol test legislators, state officials, and JobsOhio board members, I just found out that state senator Nina Turner plans to introduce a similar bill in the senate that will require legislators to be randomly drug tested once a year in order to get their overly generous paycheck (overly generous in light of how little they have accomplished and how much anger and controversy they have provoked). The legislators would be reimbursed if they tested negative; if they tested positive, they would forfeit their pay. They would have to go through drug treatment and test negative 30 days after the first test in order to get paid. Ha!

Turner said, “If we are going to be sincere in preventing individuals from obtaining public funds while also using illegal drugs, then we should start with the people who have the greatest impact on state dollars, politicians."

Nina, toss in sanctions for alcohol abuse and I'm definitely on board. Though the way things are going on that front, we may have to start AA meetings at the statehouse.

Now THAT'S the spirit, Rep. Hagan

One of the nastier, more unchristian and more pointless efforts to beat up on those down on their luck is legislation that was passed in Florida and is being introduced in Ohio — by Republicans, of course — requiring that all recipients of public assistance be drug tested. In Florida, it has yielded very few positives and the law requires that thousands of people who tested negative be reimbursed for the tests. The law's only purpose is to humiliate and browbeat low-income people, to make them feel like worthless shit.

Rep. Bob Hagan of Youngstown is proposing legislation that might nab some ACTUAL worthless shit.

"COLUMBUS - State Representative Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) today announced he will soon introduce legislation requiring drug and alcohol testing for statewide elected officials, legislators, and JobsOhio board members."

Uh-oh, state reps. Jarrod Martin and Kris Jordan.

Hagan says, "It is hypocritical to demand that the average Ohioan and working poor should be held to a higher standard than the political elite in this state. Substance abuse is substance abuse, and receiving tax dollars is receiving tax dollars. It shouldn't matter who you are."

According to Hagan's bill, the legislators and state officeholders — including members of the controversial JobsOhio's board — would have to take the test at their own expense. His bill also provides for consequences for those who test positive for illicit drugs or alcohol that could possibly include removal from office.

The Perils of Issue 3 [will appear on this November’s ballot]

Innovation Ohio released a report about Issue 3. Issue 3 is a Tea Party sponsored amendment to the Ohio constitution that would erroneously prohibit Ohio from participating in the Affordable Car Act. (which Tea Party people disrespectfully call “Obamacare”)

Apparently in their zealousness of getting Issue 3 on the November ballot they went for a classic overreach with the bill. The Columbus Dispatch (R-Columbus) reports:

”Issue 3’s author, Maurice Thompson of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, said tea party members and other backers have consistently maintained that the amendment is about more than just the federal health law or individual mandates.”

Unfortunately their overreach was very sloppy, the bill is poorly written, and if it passes, it could affect a myriad of things. Innovation Ohio reports:

”definitions and prohibitions contained in the amendment are so broadly worded that Issue 3 would also ban or freeze in place (and not allow for any future changes to) countless other laws, rules and reporting requirements designed to provide oversight of the medical and insurance professions, and to protect workers, consumers and the public health.

Among the laws, programs and policies likely to be affected are:

The Workers' Compensation System
Child Support Enforcement Orders
College and University Student Health Insurance Coverage Requirements
The Monitoring of "Pill Mills"
Abortion Notifications under the newly enacted HB 78 (and possibly the Act itself)
Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Tax Levies
School Immunizations and Disease Tracking (such as smallpox, influenza and HIV)
Licensing of Health Care Providers and Insurance Agents”

John Kasich’s move to centralize municipal income tax collection

John Kasich’s administration has recently signaled an interest in creating a centralized income tax collection division. This centralized division would be run by the state government.

This proposal flies in the face of everything Republicans and the Tea Party “stand for.” It’s bigger government, more centralized control, and moves closer to a “big brother” monitoring that no American should be for.

Like many Republican proposals these days, the idea is being justified by creating a fake problem. Their argument is that this will help businesses that might have to file multiple filings in different cities they might be operating in. But what the proposal is not taking into account are tax breaks a company might be getting in a certain city and different tax policies between different cities that might advantage a business.

As I read some comments on about the proposal, there were of course, the crazy Right who think this is a great idea. At this point I’m pretty sure the Republican/Tea Party could make a proposal to lock those people up in an institution, only let them out to do menial slave wage jobs with no benefits and they would just say, “thank you wealth providing profit making Lords, what more could I ask for?”

There were some “contractors” (who knows if they're really contractors or not sitting around commenting on news sites), who stated they thought the idea was great, too. What I don’t think these "contractors" are understanding is; is that this new system can force them to pay more in taxes – not less. Again, this is a centralized long-arm agency that could have an interesting new reach into people lives.

Trumbull County > tonight > meet your congressman and sign the HB 194 petition

This evening, Thursday, September 1, from 6-8 p.m., Congressman Tim Ryan will join his friends from the Trumbull County Democratic Party at their headquarters at 3200 Ridge Road in Warren for an HB 194 petition signing event. Come on down, ink your name on one of those babies, and maybe ask Ryan if he's seen his colleague Steve LaTourette in Ohio lately (see previous post). Ryan isn't charging to be in his presence, unlike the similarly named congressman from Wisconsin. And you CAN bring your camera. Maybe someone will even take a photo of YOU signing your name to help prevent voter suppression in Ohio.

Nurses to visit Steve LaTourette (Oh-14) tomorrow

Of course, Stevie won't be there when members of National Nurses United and their friends arrive at his office at 1 Victoria Place in downtown Painesville tomorrow at 11 to ask him whether he supports Main Street or Wall Street, in keeping with their slogan "Heal Main Street, tax Wall Street." They already sent him a certified letter asking his position on holding financial institutional accountable for the havoc they have caused through a financial transaction tax which would go pay for programs to benefit the tens of millions whose jobs, homes and health care these banks put in jeopardy.

The nurses plan to meet with someone in LaTourette's office from 10:30 to 11, and then join members of the community for some street theater and to collect items for Project Hope for the Homeless.

The gathering at LaTourette's office is one of 60 that NNU is sponsoring in 21 states around the country. There is another one in Ohio – for our friends in Southwestern Ohio — at the office of Mike "Who?" Turner (Oh-03) at 120 W. Third Street in Dayton from 2-3 p.m. tomorrow.

If you'd like to know more, go here:

More places to sign the HB 194 repeal petition

Hello Clermont County!! Stronghold of Jean "Scrunchie" Schmidt. Cleanse yourselves by signing the petition to repeal vote suppression bill HB 194 this Saturday, September 3, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Clermont County Democratic Headquarter, 10 North Second Street in Batavia. Then you can go to your Labor Day festivities with a lighter heart and clear conscience. If you see Scrunchie running by in her track shoes, wave!

Wood County! (Bowling Green)
From noon to 3 p.m. daily there will be petitions at the Wood County Democratic HQ, 455 S. Main St., Bowling Green.

There will also usually be someone at Grounds for Thought at 174 S. Main Street, in Bowling Green.

And on each Thursday evening, there will be someone gathering signatures at the Perrysburg Farmers Market. He says, "I'm generally in the first, 100s, block, on the west side," so look for him.

Pike County:
Rita has a petition for this rural southern Ohio county. Email her if you or anyone you know in the county would like to sign.

Mahoning County:
The Canfield Fair kicked off today and runs through Monday. The Mahoning County Democrats will have a booth where you can sign the petition all day every day. And THEN you can go ride some rides, eat some funnel cakes, and ogle super-large pumpkins. We're also told you can enjoy county party chair David Betras' bubble machine. (Take a photo and send it to us). They will also have petitions for Trumbull County.

Ohio state legislators from Cuyahoga put AG Holder on alert about vote suppression

In light of the recent battle for democracy between Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted over absentee ballot applications, six state legislators from the greater Cleveland area have sent a letter to U.S. attorney general Eric Holder alerted him to what is going on and asked him to be vigilant about the potential for voter suppression in Ohio.

At a press conference in Cleveland, Sen. Nina Turner pointed out that the county saved $1.2 million in 2010, thanks to absentee voting — more than twice the cost of the proposed mailing — thereby swatting down the righties whining about this initiative based on cost.

Rep. Mike Foley debunked Husted's justification for trying to ban such mailings: his claim that every county, no matter how different its geography, population, and needs, must operate under the same rules for "uniformity" in voting. He said, "This repeated claim of needing uniform procedures is deceitful. These policies will actually create huge disparities on Election Day."

That's exactly right since "uniform" procedures that may make voting easier for one group of people may make it next to impossible for another.

Go to ProgressOhio to read more:

Here's their letter:

August 31, 2011

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

The Empty Suit squanders tax dollars to bully public workers

In a blatant effort to promote himself as phony bastion of "transparency" (except when it comes to his OWN activities – he merely thinks OTHER people should be exposed) and an obvious partisan campaign ploy to rile people up to support SB 5, Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel has added a "tool" on his treasurer's website – it's the very first thing you see when you go there — to allow people to search for the salaries of any public employee.

This is information that is totally unnecessary and irrelevant to the function of the treasurer's office.The treasurer has no control over what people outside his own office are paid. This isn't the kind of information people would normally come to the treasurer's website to get. And he's positioned it to blot out the regular functions of the office. Not that he likely knows what they are, having spent so much of his time in this office he's unqualified for traveling around the country raising money for his maybe-I'm-running-maybe-I'm-not campaign for U.S. Senate.

But OK, I'll play along. I decided to look for the obscenely high salary of Governor Kasich's public-trough-feeding chief of staff Beth Hansen, who is being paid $47,000 a year more than Governor Strickland's chief of staff made.

What I found was that this vaunted "tool" is virtually unusable. I put in her name, chose "state salary," and clicked on "search." First, nothing happened. After multiple clicking, I got another screen that asked for "department" (luckily I knew it but many might not) and salary range — what on earth is that for? – and a whole bunch of other complicated options. Then I clicked on "2011 search." (You can also choose "historical search.")

Then I got "Your search returned zero results."

How special.

I tried "Elizabeth." I checked the spelling. I had it right. Nothing.

Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, Inc., responds to Building a Better Ohio’s lies

Great statement from the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, Inc., concerning Building a Better Ohio’s lies about the Mount Sterling Police Department layoffs. I especially like this part in the Fraternal Order of Police’s statement:

”What "Building a Better Ohio" should focus on is why the state made massive cuts to local government funds despite a revenue surplus.”

Exactly. What’s the point of putting almost a billion dollar surplus into a rainy day fund when there are so many needs throughout the state?

Republicans just can’t do what is fair.

Following is the complete from the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, Inc…

August 30, 2011
Jay McDonald, President


COLUMBUS -- The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio (FOP) today expressed disappointment that some supporters of Issue 2 and Senate Bill 5 are claiming that the complete layoff of the Mt. Sterling, Ohio police department was a positive development for citizens there and for Ohioans.

"Building A Better Ohio" recently claimed that Senate Bill 5 could have prevented mass Mt. Sterling police department layoffs, giving the town the ability to restructure its operating costs.

Here are the facts: Mt. Sterling's police officers aren't a part of the Fraternal Order of Police or any other public union. That's because Ohio's current collective bargaining law doesn't apply to towns and villages with fewer than 5,000 residents.

The reality is that the mayor in Mt. Sterling reported that cuts to the local government fund, not Senate Bill 5 or unions, resulted in the layoffs. What "Building a Better Ohio" should focus on is why the state made massive cuts to local government funds despite a revenue surplus.

Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio President Jay McDonald says that the legislature and governor, not the FOP, must answer for these layoffs.

Husted concedes on Cuyahoga County ballot application mailing

According to this morning's Cleveland Plain Dealer, Husted gave up his fight to figure out a way to bar boards of election from processing absentee ballot applications send out by the Cuyahoga County government. Just last night, the Cuyahoga County Council voted unanimously to approve the mailing at the request of county executive Ed FitzGerald.

Cuyahoga has been mailing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters since 2006. (Franklin County has a similar initiative). People have come to expect to receive their applications in the mail. And Husted issued a directive barring ANY board of election from doing this — so in Cuyahoga, FitzGerald said the county would pick up the slack. Husted had a hissy fit.

Unfortunately for Husted, telling BoEs to disallow applications received by mail seems to fly in the face of logic and practicality. These are applications, not ballots — similar to voter registration forms which are distributed all over the place. And BoEs MUST accept them and vet them to determine if the potential voter is legitimate. They can't discriminate based on where the voter got the application. Chances are attempts to disallow an absentee ballot application based on where the voter got it would face a steep court challenge — and sorting applications into acceptable one and unacceptable ones based merely on the source would have created more work for BoEs.

Good for Husted for giving up his attempt to thwart democracy, and shame on him for engaging in it to begin with. Hopefully, this will be end of the matter — and HB 194 will be repealed, axing a whole host of other voter-discouraging measures.

HB 194 petition signings

We got word that Tom Galloway will be in front of Way Public Library in Perrysburg with H.B. 194 petitions fron 10 a.m. until noon this coming Saturday, September 3. He will have petitions for Wood, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky and other NW Ohio counties.

In the Cleveland area, the North Shore AFL-CIO parade takes place Saturday September 3, from 10 a.m.-2 pm. stepping off from Snow and Clearview in Parma Heights. I expect there will be numerous petitioner there.

The Lorain County Organized Labor Festival is Sunday September 4, from noon-8 p.m. at Black Water Landing. I'm sure there will be a booth or petitioners circulating in the crowd there too.

Monday, September 5, is the 11th District Congressional Community Caucus Labor Day Parade and Picnic in Luke Easter Park. I can't find the parade step-off time but if you head down to the park at noon or 1 p.m., I'm sure you will find a booth with petitions and you can hang out and have some great food too.

The weekend following Labor Day, on Saturday September 10, there will be another drive-through signing starting at 9 a.m. at the abandoned Marathon Station at 6229 Pearl Road in Parma.

Please feel free to send us your HB 194 signing times and locations or just leave them in the comments. We want to get loads of signatures on these suckers and send a message to the legislature and governor (and secretary of state Husted) about how we feel about efforts to keep people from voting.

"We passed it. Expect a court battle."

That's the message my county council representative Julian Rogers posted a little while ago. He's referring to the request for legislation sent by Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald to allow the county to send absentee ballot applications to all of the county's registered voters. And it didn't just pass — it passed unanimously. The council includes three Republicans. I assume this means that, unless one was absent, they all voted for it. (Republican council representative Mike Gallagher of Strongsville was a co-sponsor).

It's nice to know there are some Republicans who get what democracy is about and understand that when people's path to the ballot is eased, everyone benefits. People feel more engaged and like they have a real stake in their government.

"Expect a court battle." That is the sad part. Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike Dewine will undoubtedly go to the wall, spending our tax dollars prolifically to defend the state's right to throw up roadblocks to voting and to make it more difficult for tens of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of people. They will be squandering our tax money in order to risk the very real possibility that next year once again, Ohio will become a national laughingstock like it was in 2004 — known around the world as where democracy goes to die.

More good questions for Elections Czar Jon Husted

Jill Miller Zimon has some good questions for Jon Husted. Husted is quickly becoming a voting suppressive elections czar. He’s coming out with a ridiculous idea that he will mandate across the board uniform standards for the distribution of absentee ballot applications. What happened to local control and allowing counties to know and do what is in the best interest of their constituents? Jon Husted seemed to favor that when he was running, but did that all change when he became Ohio’s election czar?

Jill starts off her post with the following:

”If the Ohio Secretary of State, Republican Jon Husted, really wants to make availability of vote by mail applications uniform across the 88 counties, he’s got an awful lot of confiscating to do:

1. Remove that link on the SOS page that lets people download it for themselves. Because let’s talk digital divide – who has access to a computer? To the Internet? Who makes it to a library to download? Very not uniform, SOS Husted.

2. What about people who call for one by smartphone? Not everyone has a smartphone. Don’t give a vote by mail application to people with smartphones – that would not be uniform.”

It's going to take an awful lot of creativity for Jon Husted and his staff to supress the vote the way he wants to. It's sad that in their positions this is what they focus on.

Jill's entire post can be found here:

Jon Husted moves to rule by edicts

(H/T to Jill Miller Zimon for keeping up on this story)

In a total disconnect of what his job is supposed to be, Jon Husted, Ohio’s Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer is seeking to shut down the enfranchisement of voting in Ohio by declaring he would actually mandate county boards of elections not accept certain absentee ballot applications.

Jon Husted is doing this, because Cuyahoga County will potentially be sending out absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in their county. Husted originally mandated by directive that the local county board of elections could not mail out such applications, but the county itself has the money and is not affected by the directive. Jon Husted seems to have a real problem with the idea of people voting in Cuyahoga County and is taking some extreme measures to shutdown access to it.

Not only has Jon Husted decided to attack the voters in Cuyahoga County, he’s also decided to attack the County Executive Ed Fitzgerald who is pushing to have the county mail absentee ballot applications. In a somewhat childish statement Husted calls Ed Fitzgerald a “rogue actor” for making this push. The name calling by Husted is quite unprofessional and there’s almost a China like feel at his attempt at slander.

When Jon Husted ran to be Ohio Secretary of State he promised he would not be partisan. With his latest actions he has clearly violated that promise. He’s made himself vulnerable and is quickly bringing back shades of Ken Blackwell. Elections activists nationwide should certainly love that.

For more background information on this situation, please visit Jill’s blog at:

New Jersey Puts a One Year Ban on Fracking

New Jersey has put a one year ban on fracking in that state. They are awaiting the results of a federal study to decide if they should make it Permanent. The New Jersey Star Ledger’s editorial board wrote:

”The one-year ban is welcome because much is unknown about the impact of fracking, which requires high-pressure blasting of underground rock with a toxic brew containing potentially dangerous chemicals. It produces vast quantities of contaminated wastewater that must be disposed of carefully. So far, while fracking goes on at a fever pace, no one is sure whether water supplies are being contaminated. That’s reckless.”

The more information that comes out about fracking the clearer it becomes that it does endanger our water supply. Pending the results of the federal study, New Jersey might implement a permanent ban on fracking.

It would’ve been nice if Ohio Republicans who rammed through legislation that allows fracking in Ohio would have been just as judicious about the decision as they are being in New Jersey. What’s the point of “job creation” if it could potentially kill off thousands of people and surrounding wildlife? With such potential risks shouldn’t we know a few more hard facts about fracking rather than hearing from a few biased sources that it’s "fine.” Will any of the Republican legislators who passed the fracking law allow the practice on their property? Would John Kasich allow his daughters to drink water that is coming from the same land where there is a fracking well? Would you drink that water?

Entire Star Ledger article can be found here:

Portman wants you to help him reduce the deficit

Ha ha!

As you may know, Rob Portman is on the twelve-member "super committee" tasked with coming up with budget-balancing measures to be submitted to Congress. Since the Republicans appointed six members who are firmly committed to never raising any taxes, look for poor and working people to be crushed in this undemocratic and dangerous maneuver that Democrats NEVER should have agreed to.

But Portman is pretending he is really interested in YOUR ideas for reducing the federal deficit. He's put up a form on his website to accept ideas:

I've already submitted mine. Here it is. Think Portman will pay attention? I'm not optimistic.

"The first round of budget balancing was all cuts that asked for sacrifice from struggling working people and the poor. These have trickled down through the Ohio state government to local governments which are now demanding backbreaking tax increases from those of us who have seen our expenses go up and our salaries stay the same or decrease. Therefore, the next round of budget balancing, in order to be fair and share the sacrifice, needs to come exclusively from revenue-raising measures that focus on the wealthy and corporations paying their share too. Rescind the Bush tax cuts, close tax loopholes, and start to treat unearned income the same as earned income. Also please institute penalties on companies that ship jobs overseas. If we are all in this together, then we must all build the economy together — and that means creating good, living-wage jobs HERE."

Now YOU go tell Portman what you think.

A poll tax by another name

’60s civil-rights activist and Georgia Congressman John Lewis wrote an excellent editorial that appeared in the New York Times, talking about the tidal wave of voter-suppression legislation being enacted across the country, designed to keep specific populations from voting. In light of Ohio's HB 194, it's well worth reading the editorial, titled "A Poll Tax by Another Name."

This part exposes the cynical fear-mongering being used to justify measures whose only purpose is to discourage voting:

"Conservative proponents have argued for photo ID mandates by claiming that widespread voter impersonation exists in America, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. While defending its photo ID law before the Supreme Court, Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of actual voter impersonation at any point in its history. Likewise, in Kansas, there were far more reports of U.F.O. sightings than allegations of voter fraud in the past decade."

Righties continue to push this disproven myth (ACORN! ACORN!) — and never mind that if there WERE voter fraud, none of the measures being pushed — including photo ID, which has not reached Ohio yet — would prevent it.

Read the editorial and then go to and sign up to help repeal voter suppression bill HB 194.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald on absentee application mailing

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald posted this on his Facebook page about the controversy over whether to allow counties to continue mailing application for absentee ballots to all registered voters. I thought it should be shared more widely.

"A few quick facts: First, the money for mailing these ballots has been in the budget since 2010, and no additional funds will be spent. Money the county has saved by reducing personnel is going towards making up for millions in state cuts to the Local Government Fund, increasing economic development efforts, our law enforcement initiative, and making up for state cuts in early childhood education. Second, this program was instituted in larger counties across Ohio after the fiasco at the polls in 2004, which resulted in totally unacceptable delays and long lines at the polls, wherein some people lost their right to vote. After it was implemented in 5 counties across Ohio, voting by mail participation skyrocketed, dramatically reducing same-day voting chaos. It was never a "partisan" issue until this year, and was lauded by local Republicans. In fact, the senior Republican member of our Board of Elections, as well as one of our Republican members of County Council *, have endorsed this effort. Third, approximately 47% of voters in 2010 voted by mail. If the state is concerned about other counties not choosing to mail out applications, they could easily grant them the funds to do so, instead of balancing their budget by keeping more of our local money in Columbus. "Partisan" organizations such as the League of Women voters recognize that this program is a recognized best practice. The state's attempt in this matter, if it continues, will once again make Ohio known for attempts at voter suppression."

*Mike Gallagher of Strongsville, a co-sponsor of the legislation proposed by Ed which county council will vote on Momday. Thank you, Mike.

Ohio ACLU takes Husted to the woodshed on absentee application mailings

Today the Ohio American Civil Liberties Union chastised secretary of state Jon Husted for his democracy-hating, voter-suppressing directive that no board of election in Ohio can send out mailings with applications for absentee ballots (also a provision of voter suppression bill HB 194, which we hope to repeal).

They said,

"The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio called on state officials today to reverse policies that prevent counties from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications to registered voters. Legislators and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted have sought to prohibit Boards of Elections from mailing unsolicited forms to registered voters, which may lead to less people voting by mail.

'State officials have begun a Race to the Bottom in the name of uniformity,' said ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link. “While officials are correct to desire universal standards in all counties, they have taken our elections system in the wrong direction. Equal access to the ballot should not be achieved by making voting harder for some, it should be accomplished by expanding good practices to all Ohioans. It is particularly disappointing that Secretary Husted has opted to stop a practice that should be expanded for the greater good of all Ohioans.”

'Secretary Husted could have as easily issued a directive requiring counties to send absentee ballot applications, and provided funding for those counties who could not afford it,' concluded Link. 'Increased absentee voting eases Election Day problems, increases voter participation, and helps troubleshoot possible errors in registration. I am hard pressed to find a more worthy cause for state officials to invest tax dollars.'"


Cuyahoga HB 194 petition signing opportunities tomorrow, Sat. Aug. 27

The following locations will be open to sign the petition to repeal vote-suppressing bill HB 194:

Saturday, August 27, 2011
10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Organizing For America Shaker Square HQ
13100 Shaker Square Cleveland, Ohio

11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Cuyahoga County Democratic Party HQ
1466 St. Clair Ave. Cleveland, Ohio

If you go to Shaker Square, I recommend stopping at Zanzibar for a meal – really good, healthy, vegetarian-friendly soul food. It's in the same quadrant as the OFA office, between there and the movie theater.

Tonight in Cleveland! Support teachers and SB 5 repeal.

Tonight, the Beachland Ballroom, 15611 Waterloo Rd., on Clveland's east side, hosts the Educators Bash to Repeal SB 5, a benefit to raise money to repeal the union-busting legislation. Enjoy music by the JiMiller Band, Oldboy, and Heart & Soul. It's $25 which goes to educate the public about why it's important to vote NO on Issue 2 and to combat the millions in Koch money that will likely be spent to convince the public that union "bosses" are bankrupting the state and that teachers are nothing but lazy goldbrickers living high on the hog.

Door are at 6; show starts at 7.

Go here for info, directions etc:

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