Not voting could jeopardize future votes in some US states
By DAN SEWELL and JOHN SEEWER
Friday, June 8
CINCINNATI (AP) — Do you have to vote even if you don’t want to? Not doing so could put you on the path to losing your vote in some states.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on a lawsuit filed against Ohio’s secretary of state over the practice of flagging registered voters after they’ve missed one federal general election. They get a mailed notification asking them to confirm their address. If they don’t respond and don’t vote during the next two federal general elections, they could be purged.
In oral arguments Jan. 10, an attorney for civil rights groups said Americans not only have the right to vote, they have the right not to without worry about losing their registration. Attorneys for Ohio and the United States — President Donald Trump’s administration reversed the position by former President Barack Obama by siding with Ohio — contended they are only trying to ensure the integrity of voting rolls. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has said repeatedly that the state wants to “make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
Some questions and answers about the case:
WHY SHOULD I CARE IF I DON’T LIVE IN OHIO?
Attorneys told the high court that at least six other states — Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — have similar practices. A ruling upholding Ohio’s practices could lead to more states adopting similar procedures.
Those in favor say states are mandated to maintain up-to-date voter lists. Those opposed to Ohio’s system see it as among moves by Republican officials in different states to add requirements such as presenting photo IDs or proving citizenship that tend to reduce voting among minorities and low-income people more likely to vote Democratic.
“All of us should be concerned if you have people who are running the electoral system who instead of trying to promote as much democracy as possible are trying to distort it in subtle ways to gain political advantage,” said attorney Paul Smith, of Washington, who argued against Ohio’s law before the justices in January.
Some states allow same-day voter registration and voting, but most don’t.
BUT DON’T WE WANT TO BE SURE ONLY LEGAL VOTERS VOTE?
State election officials and voting experts agree that having accurate registration lists is important to running smooth, fair elections. Removing people who have died, moved out of state, or are in prison for felony crimes helps reduce opportunities for fraud.
“Properly done, efforts to clean up voter rolls are important for election integrity and efficiency. Done carelessly or hastily, such efforts are prone to error, the effects of which are borne by voters who may show up to vote only to find their names missing from the list,” Jonathan Brater, counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program at New York University, wrote in a report earlier this year.
A 2013 Supreme Court decision cleared the way for local election officials in some parts of the country to make changes to election procedures without having to submit those plans for Justice Department review. Civil rights groups say that loss of protections has led to instances like one in 2015 in Hancock County, Georgia, where some black residents received summonses requiring them to appear in person to prove their residence or be removed from voting rolls.
President Trump’s unsupported assertions that millions voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election have added to uneasiness among voting rights groups about what steps states might take to add voter requirements. Trump hoped to prove widespread fraud when he appointed a commission to study the issue, but abandoned it as states refused to cooperate with expansive demands for personal voter data.
IS IT REALLY THAT BIG OF A DEAL IN OHIO?
The secretary of state’s office said Ohio has followed similar procedures for seeking voter confirmation of their status under both Democratic and Republican administrations since 1994.
Ohio records show more than 3 million notices seeking voter confirmation of their addresses beginning in 2011, when Husted, who is Republican, took office as secretary of state. Numbers under his Democratic predecessor weren’t available. Smith told the justices that some 70 percent of those receiving mailed notifications didn’t respond, often throwing them away without reading.
The numbers of voters listed as stricken or ready for striking — Ohio halted purges after the federal lawsuit was filed two years ago — were in the tens of thousands in urban counties such as Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton and Lucas, where Democrats tend to do better than in much of the rest of the state.
However, it’s not clear how many voters lost their registrations even though they should have remained eligible. Associated Press calls to more than 100 people listed as removed in five mostly urban counties found that in the vast majority of cases, the people were no longer at the address where they lived when registered.
Some voters in the Ohio case say they were given provisional ballots, which are subject to verification, but believe their ballots weren’t counted.
Miami University political scientist Christopher Kelley said in a closely divided swing state like Ohio, anything done to “put your finger on the scales” can be decisive. He pointed to the 2004 election, when voting under a Republican secretary of state was plagued by long lines, faulty equipment and other problems in Ohio. President George W. Bush won by some 118,000 votes to carry Ohio and clinch his re-election, four years after he won election with a disputed 537-vote margin in Florida.
WHAT DO AFFECTED VOTERS SAY?
Joseph Helle, an Army veteran, was removed from the rolls while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He called voting a fundamental right that ensures all of the other ones protected by the Constitution.
“It affects me and it affects any veteran,” said Helle, now the mayor of Oak Harbor, Ohio. “But it also affects anyone who has never served. It affects everyone equally. It takes away our voice … I was incredibly emotional when I was taken off the rolls …”
Helle, who attended the Supreme Court arguments in January, said that not voting also is a right of free expression; it can be a way to express dissatisfaction with the candidates or the way the system is working.
Lisa Keil, of Toledo, found out she had been removed from the list of eligible voters when she tried to cast a ballot in a special mayoral election in 2015.
“It made me look really stupid. I felt humiliated,” she said.
She remembered that she tried to vote in 2012, but she showed up to find long lines and was worried she wouldn’t have enough time to get to her job, so she skipped voting. Keil said she never knew that could lead to her being removed from the voting rolls. She was separated from her husband for a short time and doesn’t recall getting a notification from the secretary of state.
Jennifer Arlinghaus, of Cincinnati, was listed in Hamilton County records as subject to removal for not voting or responding.
She acknowledged that sometimes she doesn’t vote if she’s not that interested in the candidates or issues. She said removing people for voting isn’t “necessarily good.”
But she cast her ballot without problem in 2016, for Trump. And she’s “very pleased” that she could exercise that choice.
Seewer reported from Toledo, Ohio. Associated Press writer Christina Almeida Cassidy in Atlanta and AP News Researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.
Follow Dan Sewell at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell
Convicted coin-dealer awaiting 2nd clemency decision
Saturday, June 9
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. John Kasich is weighing another recommendation opposing clemency for a former Toledo-area coin dealer who raised money for Ohio Republicans before being convicted in a state investment scandal that also ensnared a former governor.
The Blade reports the Ohio Parole Board unanimously recommended against leniency for Tom Noe last week.
The 63-year-old began an 18-year prison term in 2008 for stealing from a $50 million rare-coin fund he oversaw for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
The parole board told Kasich his sentence was “not disparate” given the seriousness of the offense.
Kasich upheld a similar recommendation against clemency three years ago. Noe’s ex-wife has urged the Republican governor to take an independent look at Noe’s new application and decide differently this time.
Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/
Due to a train accident all Union County rail crossings may be blocked, please find alternate routes
Union County, OH Sheriff’s Office
Saturday June 9, 2018, 6:19 AM
Due to a train accident in the City of Marysville all Union County rail crossings may be blocked. Blockages will last for indefinite period of time. Please find alternate routes.
Ohio agents with expired vests get fittings after complaint
By JULIE CARR SMYTH
Friday, June 8
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Additional fittings began this week for Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents wearing expired bulletproof vests after political pushback against their boss, Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine.
DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney said Friday that some agents were measured for their new body armor on Thursday and more fittings are scheduled Monday and Tuesday. Also, 18 bulletproof vests ordered in March arrived this week, he said.
Tierney said the fittings were already planned for June before The Associated Press reported Tuesday about a union grievance concerning the vests.
The May 3 complaint listed 53 of 99 special agents, investigators and personnel transport workers whose Kevlar vests had passed the five-year expiration date set by the National Institute of Justice.
In response to AP’s report, DeWine, the Republican nominee for governor, said he was unaware of the situation until the grievance was filed but that he was acting to correct the situation.
The complaint listed eight vests purchased before DeWine took office in 2011 that had expired between that year and 2015. Another 24 were purchased in 2011 and expired in 2016, and 21 more were purchased in 2012 and expired in 2017. It listed one vest purchased in 2017 that was not expired. Two agents have no assigned vest.
Ballistic panels woven into the vests are designed to stop bullets for five years, even with heavy wear and tear. After that, though, manufacturers no longer guarantee their effectiveness in attacks.
Several county sheriffs convened by DeWine’s Democratic rival in the governor’s race, Richard Cordray, called DeWine’s failure to keep the vests up to date mismanagement.
“The reason why I believe it’s so troubling is there should be nothing more important than the safety of their officers, of all officers,” said Ashtabula County Sheriff William Johnson.
Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart called DeWine’s management “short-sighted” and said leaving officers unprotected is “inexcusable.”
“If it went over a few months or a year or something, you could understand it. But multiple years? That’s not paying attention to detail, that’s what that is,” he said.
Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick said there is a federal matching grant program that DeWine could have taken advantage of, but didn’t, that would have covered half the cost of new vests — and saved Ohio taxpayers money.
“Not providing the equipment is one aspect of it, but also not being fiscally responsible, not showing that you can save your taxpayers money while providing the best possible equipment for your personnel, I think that shows a lack of leadership,” he said.
Tierney said funds from the federal Bulletproof Vest Partnership go first to local communities, with larger government units coming only after their grant requests have been fulfilled. He said the state of Ohio has applied twice since DeWine took office, but did not receive any money.
He said the DeWine administration has spent $137,000 on vest purchases since 2011, including bulk purchases in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
Ohio Farm Bureau defends property rights in brief to U.S. Supreme Court
COLUMBUS, Ohio (OFBF) – Protecting landowners from punitive state eminent domain laws is the goal of an Ohio Farm Bureau legal brief recently submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Ohio is one of only three states in which landowners are forced to endure a multiple step legal process with exceptionally difficult standards that results in burdensome legal expenses for both the landowner and taxpayers. Supreme Court precedent currently prohibits Ohioans from appealing to federal court to address government property takings. Ohio Farm Bureau’s brief seeks to overturn precedent and gain landowners the option to appeal directly to a federal court.
This is the first time in the nearly 100 year history of Ohio Farm Bureau that the organization has participated in a case before the Supreme Court of the United States.
“Engaging in a case before the Supreme Court was not a decision we took lightly,” said Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president. “Ohio landowners deserve fair treatment when the state decides to take private property. We hope our participation results in a ruling favorable to Ohioans and property owners across the nation.” He added that protecting private property rights is a priority issue for Farm Bureau.
An example of why Ohioans need relief from current law dates to 1997, when the State of Ohio expanded the spillway of Grand Lake St. Marys in Mercer County. The state refused to compensate 80 landowners who were subjected to frequent and severe flooding from the spillway expansion. The state employed numerous tactics to delay landowners from receiving their constitutionally required compensation. Eventually the state was ordered to fairly pay the landowners, but the process took nearly 10 years before payments were made. This drawn out process created massive legal fees for the landowners and was unnecessarily expensive for Ohio taxpayers.
OFBF engaged the law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease to prepare the amicus brief. The firm has a long-term relationship with Ohio Farm Bureau and has extensive experience with the workings of the nation’s highest court. The brief was submitted in the Knick v. Township of Scott, Pa. case.
Oral arguments before the Supreme Court are expected sometime in the session beginning in October with a ruling expected by next summer.
Statement from Secretary Husted on SCOTUS Voter Roll Maintenance Decision
Secretary Husted Press
Monday, June 11, 2018
COLUMBUS – The Supreme Court of the United States ruled today in Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute, upholding the supplemental process used in Ohio to maintain the Statewide Voter Registration Database. The following may be attributed to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted:
“Today’s decision is a victory for election integrity, and a defeat for those who use the federal court system to make election law across the country. This decision is validation of Ohio’s efforts to clean up the voter rolls and now with the blessing nation’s highest court, it can serve as a model for other states to use.”
Excerpts from today’s Supreme Court decision:
“The process that Ohio uses to remove voters on change-of residence grounds does not violate the Failure-to-Vote Clause or any other part of the NVRA…Ohio’s removal process follows subsection (d) to the letter: It does not remove a registrant on change-of-residence grounds unless the registrant is sent and fails to mail back a return card and then fails to vote for an additional four years.” – Page 2
“… the explanation added by HAVA in 2002 makes it clear that the statutory phrase ‘by reasons of the person’s failure to vote’ in the Failure-to-Vote Clause does not categorically preclude the use of nonvoting as a test for removal.” – Page 5
“As noted, subsection (d), the provision of the NVRA that directly addresses the procedures that a State must follow before removing a registrant from the rolls on change-of residence grounds, provides that a State may remove a registrant who “(i) has failed to respond to a notice” and “(ii) has not voted or appeared to vote … during the period beginning on the date of the notice and ending on the day after the date of the second general election for Federal office that occurs after the date of the notice” (about four years). Not only are States allowed to remove registrants who satisfy these requirements, but federal law makes this removal mandatory. – Page 8
“Respondents argue (and the Sixth Circuit held) that, even if Ohio’s process complies with subsection (d), it nevertheless violates the Failure-to-Vote Clause—the clause that generally prohibits States from removing people from the rolls “by reason of [a] person’s failure to vote.” Respondents point out that Ohio’s Supplemental Process uses a person’s failure to vote twice: once as the trigger for sending return cards and again as one of the requirements for removal. Respondents conclude that this use of nonvoting is illegal. We reject this argument because the Failure-to-Vote Clause, both as originally enacted in the NVRA and as amended by HAVA, simply forbids the use of nonvoting as the sole criterion for removing a registrant, and Ohio does not use it that way. Instead, as permitted by subsection (d), Ohio removes registrants only if they have failed to vote and have failed to respond to a notice.” – Page 9
“There is no plausible reason why Congress would enact the provision that respondents envision. As interpreted by respondents, HAVA would be like a law that contains one provision making it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher and another provision making it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.10 or higher. The second provision would not only be redundant; it would be confusing and downright silly.” – Pages 13-14
“This argument is based on a dubious empirical conclusion that the NVRA and HAVA do not allow us to indulge. Congress clearly did not think that the failure to send back a return card was of no evidentiary value because Congress made that conduct one of the two requirements for removal under subsection (d).” – Page 15-16
“Ohio simply treats the failure to return a notice and the failure to vote as evidence that a registrant has moved, not as a ground for removal. And in doing this, Ohio simply follows federal law.” – Page 17
“The notice in question here warns recipients that unless they take the simple and easy step of mailing back the preaddressed, postage prepaid card— or take the equally easy step of updating their information online—their names may be removed from the voting rolls if they do not vote during the next four years. It was Congress’s judgment that a reasonable person with an interest in voting is not likely to ignore notice of this sort.” – Page 20
Attorney General Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
June 11, 2018
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issued the following statement on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in favor of Ohio in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute:
“I am pleased that the United States Supreme Court agreed that Ohio was following federal law in maintaining accurate voter rolls. I congratulate our attorneys throughout this case for their exceptional work in documenting how this process, used by Democrat and Republican secretaries of state, is indeed lawful.”
Report: Ohio raises its grade for logistics to A
MUNCIE, Indiana — Ohio raises its grade for logistics to an “A,” says the 2018 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card released today by the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) and Conexus Indiana.
Ohio improved from “B+” to “A” in its Logistics and “B-” to “B” in its Diversification grades. The state maintained the grade of “B” in Manufacturing, “C” in Tax Climate and Liability Gap, and “C-” in Human Capital. Ohio declined from “B” to “B-” in Global Position, “C+” to “C” in Productivity and Innovation, and “C-” to “D” in Benefits Costs.
Ohio experienced an increase in assisted living costs between 2016 and 2017, the report said.
“U.S. manufacturing and logistics are in a remarkable period of expansion,” said CBER Director Michael Hicks, George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business Research.
The report, released at the Conexus Indiana breakfast event co-hosted with the Indianapolis Business Journal titled, “Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics: Indiana’s Innovation Economy – Exploring Transportation Megatrends”, features an annual scorecard comparison of advanced manufacturing and logistics health among U.S. states.
The 2018 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card was written by Hicks and Srikant Devaraj, CBER’s research assistant professor. The reports can be downloaded from the CBER website at http://conexus.cberdata.org/.
Fathers’ early parenting quality affected by mothers
Ohio State University
Jun. 11, 2018
Study shows importance of maternal ‘gatekeeping’
COLUMBUS, Ohio – How a new mother reacts to her partner’s early interactions with their baby may affect his parenting quality later on, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that fathers did not perform as well as a parent to their 9-month-old child if the dads felt their partner was critical of their parenting skills six months earlier.
The study – done with relatively affluent, highly educated dual-earner couples – is the first to show how fathers’ parenting quality might be affected by “maternal gatekeeping.”
That’s the term researchers use to describe the behaviors and attitudes of mothers that may support or limit father involvement in child rearing.
“The behaviors of mothers can shape how fathers interact with their children,” said Lauren Altenburger, lead author of the study, who did the work as a doctoral student in human sciences at The Ohio State University.
“Mothers may not even be aware of how their criticisms of the father may end up negatively influencing how dads parent.”
The study appears online in the Journal of Child and Family Studies.
The results reflect the fact that, in our society, mothers still have the most power and influence when it comes to raising children, said study co-author Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, professor of human sciences at Ohio State.
“Many fathers may be more vulnerable to criticism than mothers are because there is still less support in our society for fathers as active, involved parents,” she said.
The researchers used data from the New Parents Project, a long-term study co-led by Schoppe-Sullivan that is investigating how dual-earner couples adjust to becoming parents for the first time. In all, 182 couples, most of whom were married, participated in this study.
The parents were assessed twice: when their child was 3 months old and when he or she was 9 months old.
Fathers answered questions at both time points to gauge how much they felt their partner “opened” or “closed” the gate to their involvement in child care.
For example, each dad reported how often his partner took over baby-related tasks because the mom thought he wasn’t doing them properly and how often she gave him irritated looks about his parenting, which are gate closing. Examples of gate opening include encouraging the father to help bathe the baby or mom letting him know she appreciates his contributions to parenting.
The researchers measured parenting quality by observing the father interacting with his child for three minutes when the infant was 3 months old and five minutes when he or she was 9 months old.
The fathers were rated on a variety of factors, such as how appropriately they responded to the child’s gestures and expressions, how engaged they were with the child and how much they smiled and spoke in a warm tone.
Findings showed that the more the fathers reported gate closing by their partner when the child was 3 months old, the worse researchers rated their parenting quality at 9 months old.
“If fathers feel their partners don’t have confidence in their parenting, they may withdraw, and become less positive and sensitive with their child,” Altenburger said.
One theory is that mothers may close the gate on fathers because dads show evidence of poor parenting. But in this study, poorer parenting at 3 months was not linked to maternal gate closing at 9 months, which would be expected if this theory were correct.
Schoppe-Sullivan noted that this sample of dual-earner couples may be different from other families. “We might see more evidence of protective gatekeeping by mothers in more distressed families,” she said.
The researchers said that both mothers and fathers need to be supportive to each other in those early months after their first baby is born.
The transition to parenthood is challenging and both parents often feel vulnerable, Schoppe-Sullivan said, because they are still developing their identities as parents.
But fathers may be especially vulnerable to criticism.
“There still is an assumption in our society that mothers are the primary caregivers and that they have the power to determine the involvement of others in child care,” she said. “Fathers may feel they should withdraw if they don’t have their partner’s support.”
The results suggest moms should think twice before criticizing dads’ parenting choices on minor issues such as what their baby will wear on a particular day, Altenburger said.
“It is about giving fathers the space to parent, too. Both parents need to keep communication open and not be so quick to criticize,” she said.
The New Parents Project was funded by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Ohio Department of Agriculture Announces 2018 Local Agricultural Easements Approved for Purchase
Ohio Department of Agriculture
REYNOLDSBURG, OH (June 11, 2018) – The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) today announced approval for local sponsors to purchase agricultural easements on 51 family farms representing 6,107 acres in 22 counties.
Local sponsoring organizations, which include land trusts, counties and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, receive funding from the Clean Ohio Fund to manage the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program. The easement ensures farms remain permanently in agricultural production. The program supports the state’s largest industry, food and agriculture.
To be eligible for the program, farms must be larger than 40 acres or next to a preserved farm, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have support from local government and not be in close proximity to development. Landowners may use the proceeds of the easement in any way they wish, but most reinvest it in their farm operation.
Communities wishing to participate next year can apply to be Certified Local Sponsors between August 21 and October 12, 2018. Certified Local Sponsors assist landowners interested in selling easements with the application process, easement closing and monitoring, and are ODA’s valued partners in carrying out the Ohio Farmland Preservation program.
Funding for the state’s farmland preservation efforts is derived from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, approved by voters in 2008, and used to purchase agricultural easements from willing sellers through a competitive process. From 2002 to 2017, 340 family farms in 58 counties have collectively preserved 59,165 acres in agricultural production. Permanent easements preserved under related programs bring the total acres currently preserved in Ohio to 69,514.
For more information visit: agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/programs/farmland-preservation-office.