Supreme Court allows Ohio, other state voter purges
By MARK SHERMAN
Tuesday, June 12
WASHINGTON (AP) — States can target people who haven’t cast ballots in a while in efforts to purge their voting rolls, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a case that has drawn wide attention amid stark partisan divisions and the approach of the 2018 elections.
By a 5-4 vote that split the conservative and liberal justices, the court rejected arguments in a case from Ohio that the practice violates a federal law intended to increase the ranks of registered voters. A handful of other states also use voters’ inactivity to trigger processes that could lead to their removal from the voting rolls.
Justice Samuel Alito said for the court that Ohio is complying with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. He was joined by his four conservative colleagues in an opinion that drew praise from Republican officials and conservative scholars.
President Donald Trump hailed the ruling from Singapore on Tuesday, tweeting: “Just won big Supreme Court decision on Voting! Great News!”
The four liberal justices dissented, and civil rights groups and some Democrats warned that more Republican-led states could enact voter purges similar to Ohio’s.
Ohio is of particular interest nationally because it is one of the larger swing states in the country with the potential to determine the outcome of presidential elections. But partisan fights over ballot access are playing out across the country. Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to suppress votes from minorities and poorer people who tend to vote for Democrats. Republicans have argued that they are trying to promote ballot integrity and prevent voter fraud.
Ohio’s contested voter purge stems from an inoffensive requirement in federal law that states have to make an effort to keep their voter rolls in good shape by removing people who have moved or died.
But Ohio pursues its goal more aggressively than most, relying on two things: voter inactivity over six years encompassing three federal elections and the failure to return a card, sent after the first missed election, asking people to confirm that they have not moved and continue to be eligible to vote.
Voters who return the card or show up to vote over the next four years after they receive it remain registered. If they do nothing, their names eventually fall off the list of registered voters.
The case hinged on a provision of the voter registration law that prohibits removing someone from the voting rolls “by reason of the person’s failure to vote.”
Alito said that the two factors show that Ohio “does not strike any registrant solely by reason of the failure to vote.”
Justice Stephen Breyer, countered in his dissent: “In my view, Ohio’s program does just that.” Breyer said many people received mailings that they discard without looking at them. Failure to return the notice “shows nothing at all that is statutorily significant,” he wrote.
In a separate dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Congress enacted the voter registration law “against the backdrop of substantial efforts by states to disenfranchise low-income and minority voters.” The court’s decision essentially endorses “the very purging that Congress expressly sought to protect against,” Sotomayor wrote.
Richard Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California at Irvine, called the case “a close question of statutory interpretation.” Hasen said the lawsuit the court resolved Monday did not involve allegations of discrimination against minority voters, and he suggested the laws in Ohio and other states could be vulnerable to a legal challenge on those grounds.
Civil rights groups said the court should be focused on making it easier for people to vote, not allowing states to put up roadblocks to casting ballots.
“With the midterm election season now underway, the court’s ruling demands heightened levels of vigilance as we anticipate that officials will read this ruling as a green light for loosely purging the registration rolls in their community,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Ohio has used voters’ inactivity to trigger the removal process since 1994, although groups representing voters did not sue the Republican secretary of state, Jon Husted, until 2016. As part of the lawsuit, a judge last year ordered the state to count 7,515 ballots cast by people whose names had been removed from the voter rolls.
Husted called the decision “a victory for electoral integrity.” He is running for lieutenant governor this November on the Republican ticket headed by Mike DeWine, the current attorney general.
Adding to the tension in the case, the Trump administration reversed the position taken by the Obama administration and backed Ohio’s method for purging voters.
Last week, Trump said he would nominate Eric Murphy, the Ohio lawyer who argued the case on the state’s behalf, to a seat on the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel on that court had ruled 2-1 that Ohio’s practice was illegal.
Associated Press writers Dan Sewell in Cincinnati and Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus contributed to this report.
CAPA Announces Headliners for FESTIVAL LATINO 2018
CAPA today announced the lineup of national and international artists which will be headlining Festival Latino 2018 presented by Honda. The two-day, family-friendly, free event will be held Saturday and Sunday, August 11 and 12, from 11 am-8 pm each day in Genoa Park downtown.
Saturday, August 11
Dominican – Merengue
Geni, Yánez, and Sebastián of the NYC-based Típico Urbano put an original, modern twist on merengue típico, the oldest style of merengue, infusing traditional Dominican rhythms with youthful lyrics and new and exciting musical concepts.
Mexican – Folk
Eight-time Austin Music Award winner and 2015 Austin Musician of the Year, singer/songwriter Gina Chavez’s original take on traditional folk blends her dynamic vocals with hints of cumbia, bossa nova, vintage pop, and reggaetón.
Mexican – Banda
Perhaps best known for his album Despreciado, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Lupillo Rivera has netted 15 Top 50 singles on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, and is currently touring in support of his 2017 album, El Malo.
Sunday, August 12
Dominican – Bachata
Known as “The Prince of Bachata,” singer Frank Reyes is one of the most recognized champions of the genre worldwide with hits such as “Noche de Pasion,” “Amor Desperdiciado,” “Se Me Olvido Que Te Amaba,” and “Como Sanar” among many others.
El Gran Combo
Puerto Rican – Salsa
Considered one of the most successful salsa orchestras of all time, El Gran Combo has released more than 60 studio albums of soul-stirring Latin rhythms and lush vocal harmonies over the course of their more than 55-year-long career.
A detailed schedule will be released at a later date, and will include the full lineup of entertainment and activities to be featured at Festival Latino 2018.
All programs and artists are subject to change.
The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, education excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. CAPA also appreciates the generous support of The National Endowment for the Arts, the Martha G. Staub, Roy V. and Eloise F. Thomas, and James W. Overstreet Funds of The Columbus Foundation, and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.
Owner/operator of downtown Columbus’ magnificent historic theatres (Ohio Theatre, Palace Theatre, Southern Theatre) and manager of the Riffe Center Theatre Complex, Lincoln Theatre, and the Shubert Theater (New Haven, CT), CAPA is a non-profit, award-winning presenter of national and international performing arts and entertainment. For more information, visit www.capa.com.
Regional Council of Carpenters Endorses DeWine-Husted
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
COLUMBUS– The Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters today announced their endorsement of Mike DeWine and Jon Husted for Governor and Lt. Governor of Ohio in the 2018 General Election.
“As a council, we believe that Mike DeWine and Jon Husted have the best experience to continue economic prosperity in Ohio,” said Executive Secretary Mark McGriff, representing the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters. “It’s all about the opportunity for our members to go to work and provide for their families.”
The carpenters’ union represents over 32,000 professional tradespeople in 33 locals across Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and portions of West Virginia and Tennessee, with around 16,000 coming from Ohio alone. The focus of the organization is training, professionalism and partnerships for economic development.
Mike DeWine and Jon Husted have also been endorsed by the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Ohio Conference of Cement Masons.
Hot Ribs. Cool Jazz
Enjoy the finest in music and barbecue as the Scioto Mile comes alive with three days of continuous live performances and pit masters serve up sizzling ribs, chicken and more. The 2018 Jazz & Rib Fest, July 20-22, headlining performers include: Dave Koz & Friends, Ramsey Lewis and Arturo Sandoval with Special Guest Jane Monheit.
For more information, visit www.hotribscooljazz.org.
Ohio Secretary of State’s Office to Honor Two Central Ohio Businesses
COLUMBUS – Food for Good Thought in Columbus and Eleventh Candle Co. in Worthington have been selected by Secretary of State Jon Husted as two of June’s featured businesses for the Ohio Business Profile Program.
A representative from the Secretary of State’s office will visit both Food for Good Thought and Eleventh Candle Co. on Friday to present them with certificates highlighting this accomplishment. As part of the Ohio Business Profile program, Secretary Husted declared June as “Empowering Opportunities” Month to highlight businesses and organizations that help people overcome adversity and become part of the workforce.
Food for Good Thought provides employment services for those with autism. Some of their programs include employment at a local bakery, a transition program on Ohio Dominican’s campus and a five week program to help build employability skills.
WHO: A representative of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
WHAT: Presentation of a certificate honoring Food for Good Thought for being featured in the Ohio Business Profile program.
WHEN: Friday, June 15, 2018 at 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: Food for Good Thought
4185 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43214
Eleventh Candle Co. is a social enterprise candle company with a mission to redeem, restore, empower and equip those vulnerable to human trafficking, abuse, exploitation and addiction.
WHO: A representative of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
WHAT: Presentation of a certificate honoring Eleventh Candle Co. for being featured in the Ohio Business Profile program.
WHEN: Friday, June 15, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: Eleventh Candle Co.
752 High Street
Worthington, Ohio 43085
INKcarceration brings tattoo and metal music festival to famed prison
June 13, 2018
MANSFIELD, Ohio – A rocking cocktail of a haunted and iconic prison, metal music and tattoos will take place this summer at the INKcarceration Music and Tattoo Festival, July 13-15, at Mansfield’s Ohio State Reformatory. Bringing guests top best rock n’ roll and heavy metal music acts, INKcarceration not only features some 30 bands on two stages, but celebrates all things tattoo related. More than 25 booths will feature the work of 70-plus local and regional tattoo artists. Live demonstrations and contests in 25 categories, including a best in show, will highlight their artistry.
More than 15 different vendors will serve up a variety of food and beverages, and tours of the legendary Ohio State Reformatory will be offered daily.
With two stages programmed around the clock, this year’s lineup includes some of the top bands in rock and metal, such as Rise Against, A Day to Remember, Of Mice and Men, Lit, Life of Agony and Bad Omens on Friday; Bush, Our Lady Peace, Living Colour, Fuel, Alien Ant Farm, ’68, Through Fire, Akadia and All About A Bubble on Saturday; Black Label Society, Clutch, Hatebreed, Suicidal Tendencies, Sevendust, Corrosion of Conformity, Adelitas Way, JennCity SOiL and Fear the Fall on Sunday.
The Ohio State Reformatory, best known as the location for the No. 1 movie of all time (IMDB), “The Shawshank Redemption,” provides the perfect backdrop to the festival offering even more entertainment inside its walls, given the prison’s prominent history and lore.
Tickets to the festival are $89 per day and includes all music acts. Special VIP packages are also available. Tickets and additional information are found at inkcarceration.com.
A destination unlike any other, Mansfield and Richland County, Ohio offers unusual travel adventures and experiences, such as spending the night in a haunted former state prison where Hollywood blockbuster movies are shot, world-class motorsports, snow skiing and boarding, hiking, biking, golf and loads of other outdoor adventures attract families and visitors of all ages. Complete visitor information, details on dining and accommodations and free visitor guides are available at DestinationMansfield.com.
Attorney General DeWine Warns of Summer Scams
June 13, 2018
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today warned consumers to beware of seasonal scams, including home improvement fraud and travel-related schemes.
“Scams don’t take a break in the summer,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We encourage people to be careful. Make sure you know who you’re dealing with. Ask for references. Take your time before making a decision.”
Last year, the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section logged more home improvement complaints in the summer (about 600 complaints) than in any other season. While some involved billing disputes, others alleged services were never provided.
Consumers also reported travel-related complaints, such as “free” vacations that were not truly free and timeshare resellers who failed to deliver promised services.
During summer months, consumers should beware of scams including:
• Storm-chaser scams. Following severe weather, some con artists travel to storm-damaged neighborhoods and offer to repair roofs or clear downed trees. They offer prompt work and take immediate payment, but ultimately they do little or no work.
• Rental scams. A con artist advertises a rental property that is not actually available to rent. The scammer tells prospective renters to wire a deposit before they’ve seen the property, but after they send the money, they receive nothing in return.
• Utility shut-off scams. Someone calls, claiming to represent the power company, and says the power will be shut off unless immediate payment is provided. The caller is actually a con artist, and any money sent will be lost. (This scam may target individuals or organizations, such as restaurants or churches.)
• Closing-cost scams. Home buyers or sellers receive an email with instructions to wire their closing costs to a certain location. The instructions seem legitimate, but the message is actually from a scam artist who will collect the money.
• Driveway paving scams. Con artists pose as reputable driveway pavers and approach people at their homes. They claim to have leftover asphalt or concrete and pressure consumers into paying them, but they do minimal, shoddy work before leaving.
Common signs of a potential scam include:
• Pressure to act immediately
• Requests for payment via wire transfer, money order, or gift card
• Claims that are too good to be true
• No written information or contact information
• Requests for personal information
• Requests for large down payments
Consumers can learn more and report potential scams to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.