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Secretary Husted Responds to Latest Court Ruling on APRI Litigation

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has released the following statement in response to today’s ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on the A. Philip Randolph Institute’s latest attempt to interfere with the effective administration of Ohio’s elections. The Court has ruled to reinstate the “APRI Exception” for the 2018 General Election, while postponing argument of the merits until after the election. The following may be attributed to Secretary Husted:

“While I disagree with the Court’s decision, it is temporary and narrow in scope. I will not appeal the decision because that would serve as an unnecessary source of contention with an election only five days away.

“I agree with Judge Siler’s opinion that when the merits of this case are ultimately decided, Ohio’s process for maintaining accurate voter rolls will once again be upheld – just as it was when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year.

“Ohio is, and will remain, a leader in elections administration because of our commitment to making it easy to vote and hard to cheat. We will not waiver in this effort, but it is time to move forward for this election.”


Point: Make Election Day a National Holiday

By Robert Weissman


In 1845, Congress passed the law designating Election Day as the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November. Why? Because that time follows the fall harvest but precedes the worst of winter. Nearly two centuries ago, in an agrarian society, that measure was designed to expand voting by avoiding conflicts with the farming calendar and enabling farmers to make the one- or two-day trip to polling places.

But America has long ceased to be an agrarian society, and the timing of Election Day now functions as an impediment to, rather than enabler of, wide participation in our democracy. For working people, getting to the polls on a work day, especially when lines may be long or if they work multiple jobs, is often extremely difficult or even impossible. The solution is easy: Make Election Day a national holiday.

There’s only one serious objection to this idea: paid holidays are a burden on employers and reduce economic output. But the objection is easily overcome, because we don’t need to create an additional national holiday. Election Day could be moved to Veterans Day, enabling us to honor those who have served by recommitting to our democracy through the sacred act of voting. Alternatively, an Election Day holiday — or, better, “Democracy Day” — could be honored on its current date, the first Tuesday in November, in place of the federal recognition of Columbus Day. Or, the Democracy Day/election day could be held on a weekend.

American voter turnout is anemic. In recent presidential elections, between 50 percent and 55 percent of the voting-age population has cast a ballot, with a spike up to 58 percent in 2008, during Barack Obama’s historic election. (Turnout among voting-age citizens is around 60 percent.) Although there appears to be unusual enthusiasm around our coming election, voting rates in midterm elections are far worse, generally on the order of 40 percent. In 2014, a pathetic 35.9 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot — barely more than one in three.

U.S. voting participation rates are at the back of the pack among rich countries. We rank 26 among 32 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (a grouping of most of the world’s wealthiest nations) for which comparable data are available. This is one of those international comparisons where we really should aspire to be at the top because voting participation is a crucial indicator of democratic health.

Of course, making Democracy Day a national holiday is not a perfect tonic for our low voter turnout rates. It should be part of a package that includes:

—Restoration of the Voting Rights Act, and an end to the systematic voter suppression efforts — largely targeting people of color — that are rampant throughout the country.

—Automatic voter registration.

—Expanded early voting and guarantees that all Americans have access to a nearby polling place with sufficient capacity to eliminate long lines and delays.

Americans also have to believe that their votes make a difference. The most important step in that direction would be to end the dominance of Big Money in our elections, including the torrent of negative advertisements they fund. We could do that by providing for public financing of our elections and a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision holding that corporations — and, by extension, super rich individuals — have a right to spend as much as they please to influence election outcomes.

With a designated Democracy Day, we could not only remove needless barriers to voter participation, we would have an opportunity to create a civic celebration of our democracy, deepening community bonds and our shared commitment to democratic practice and participation, irrespective of ideological or partisan divides.


Robert Weissman is president of Public Citizen. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Counterpoint: Should Election Day Be a Federal Holiday? No Way

By Chris Talgo


In the most recent midterm election, about 37 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot. In the 2016 general election, 58 percent of eligible voters exercised their right to vote. Based on recent voter turnout, some are calling for a federal holiday on Election Day to make it easier for Americans to vote. However, this is a bad idea because a federal voting holiday is unnecessary and could cause more harm than good.

Besides the fact that Americans have ample opportunities to vote other than on Election Day — more on this later — a federal voting holiday would create headaches for businesses and employees nationwide. Schools would close, leaving many working parents without child care. Consequently, these parents would either have to take a day off or pay for child care services while they are at work. Either way, it is a no-win situation for millions of Americans (not to mention another day American students will not be in classrooms).

Notwithstanding the hassle that working families with children would encounter if Election Day becomes a federal holiday, all Americans would be inconvenienced in some form or fashion. A federal holiday means that financial institutions, the Postal Service and several government offices would be closed. Even worse, numerous retailers and other employers would also shut down in observance of the federal holiday, producing an economic drag.

In other words, making Election Day a federal holiday would cause all sorts of unnecessary troubles for far too many Americans.

Aside from the economic argument against an Election Day federal holiday, there also remains a valid concern that the federal government should refrain from intruding into elections.

According to the Constitution’s Election Clause: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.” In other words, states are responsible for holding elections — not the federal government.

Federalism is a bedrock principle of the United States, and one way that it is preserved is through states retaining power over elections. Although declaring Election Day a federal holiday would not immediately threaten the sanctity of federalism, it would surely undermine it. In general, the less federal government involvement in elections, the better.

In addition to these valid concerns, citizens in every single state and the District of Columbia have the opportunity to vote well before Election Day. In fact, every state permits eligible voters to request an absentee ballot that allows them to vote ahead of Election Day. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia allow voters to request absentee ballots without an excuse for why they cannot vote on Election Day. And the 20 states that require excuses for absentee ballots commonly accept conflicting work hours and a laundry list of other reasons.

Moreover, in 37 states, Americans can vote in person before Election Day. On average, early voting starts 22 days before Election Day.

Logistically, voting on Election Day is easier than ever. In most states, polls are open before dawn and well after dusk. Polling hours are plastered around the community, and polling places must remain open for all eligible voters in-line before the scheduled time for the polls to close.

Furthermore, the United States contains more than 100,000 polling locations, making it as trouble-free as possible for voters to reach their designated voting sites. In many urban areas, polling places are located within blocks of voters’ residences. Even more, many states provide mobile voting stations to places such as nursing homes, making it as convenient as possible for those who cannot travel to a polling place on Election Day (just in case they choose not to vote by mail).

In short, Americans have plenty of chances to vote, even if they are unable to make it to the polls on Election Day.

For more than 200 years, Americans have managed to vote without Election Day being deemed a federal holiday. Furthermore, technology and other reforms have made voting easier than ever. Americans who choose not to exercise their voting rights are hardly doing so because they cannot find time on Election Day.

Therefore, making Election Day a federal holiday is unwarranted, akin to a “solution” for a problem that simply does not exist.


Chris Talgo is an editor at The Heartland Institute. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Judicial Votes Count Project Gives Ohio Voters Insight into 2018 Judge Candidates

Judicial Votes CountBefore casting their ballots in the Nov. 6 election, Ohio voters can use Judicial Votes Count, the state’s only nonpartisan, statewide judicial election resource, to learn more about the nearly 240 judge candidates running for election.

Judicial Votes Count – at JudicialVotesCount.org – presents profiles of judicial candidates, including their judicial experience and why they are running for judge. Other resources on the website include videos about the different types of courts in Ohio and an explanation of why judges play an important role in their communities.

Next week’s general election in Ohio includes 164 judicial seats at the state, appellate, common pleas, and county court levels and 239 candidates vying for those seats. Included are two openings on the Ohio Supreme Court.

While voters in all Ohio counties will consider candidates for the Supreme Court seats and at least one appellate seat per county, only 61 of the state’s 88 counties have judicial elections at the common pleas or county court levels in 2018.

Judges in Ohio serve six-year terms. Terms are staggered so that Supreme Court, district appellate court, common pleas, and county court elections are conducted in even-numbered years, such as this year. Municipal court judgeships are up for election in odd-numbered years.

“It’s important for voters to vote their entire ballot,” said Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who is in her last term on the Ohio Supreme Court and is not a candidate in this year’s election. “Judicial races are listed toward the end of Ohio’s ballot and research shows that too many voters fail to complete their ballots, thus missing the judicial races entirely.

“Judges are the foundation of justice in every Ohio county, and it’s vital for Ohio voters to learn about candidates’ qualifications and then vote their full ballots,” O’Connor said.

Judicial Votes Count is a nonpartisan partnership launched in 2015, to better educate Ohioans about judges and the Ohio court system.

Partners in the Judicial Votes Count project are Chief Justice O’Connor, the Ray C. Bliss Institute at the University of Akron, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio News Media Association, and the Ohio Association of Broadcasters.

“From traffic, criminal, employment, and divorce cases, elected judges impact our everyday lives,” said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “Judges protect our freedoms and hold other government branches accountable, and we encourage all voters to use this simple, online tool before heading to the ballot box.”

Dennis Hetzel, executive director of the Ohio News Media Association, added, “No elected officials affect lives more than judges, but too often citizens are voting based on whose last name they like better. The Judicial Votes Count website makes it easy for citizens to get solid, credible information for informed decisions.”

The website was created after a 2014 survey by Bliss Institute found that most of the registered Ohio voters polled said they don’t vote for judges because they don’t know enough about the candidates.

Contact: League of Women Voters of Ohio, 614.469.1505

News Release: Erin Pettegrew named State Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Appointment confirms more than a decade of advocacy, leadership for consumers

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio Department of Aging Director Beverley Laubert this week appointed Erin Pettegrew as the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Pettegrew has served as acting State Ombudsman since December 2017. As State Long-term Care Ombudsman, Pettegrew will continue to promote person-centered care for all of Ohio’s long-term care consumers, putting them at the heart of all care decisions and giving them a voice about what care they receive, from whom, when and where.

“With this appointment, Ohioans have a stalwart advocate and champion in their corners,” Laubert said. “Erin has an accomplished track record and brings a dedicated focus on improving the quality of care and the quality of life. Under her leadership, I am confident the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman will continue to be a national leader in long-term care advocacy.”

Pettegrew has served the Ohio Department of Aging and the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman for nearly 13 years. As the Ombudsman Projects Coordinator, she oversaw Ohio’s Nursing Home Quality Initiative, including quality improvement projects, such as Person-Centered Staff Engagement and Music & Memory, and managed the long-term care facility resident and family satisfaction surveys. As the State Ombudsman, she coordinates the Ohio interagency resident transition team in the event of a long-term care provider closure, assuring the safety and rights of residents as they move. She provides training and technical assistance to regional long-term care ombudsmen and assists in quality improvement and monitoring programs. She also serves as vice chair of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care Leadership Council.

Prior to joining the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Pettegrew served as a budget analyst with the Ohio Legislative Service Commission and as a local government liaison with the Ohio Department of Development. She is a graduate of Ohio University with a B.S.C. in Interpersonal Communication and an M.A. in Political Science. She completed the Series in Applied Gerontology Education program through The Ohio State University, as well as the requirements to be a certified dementia care practitioner.

About the Long-Term Care Ombudsman — The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman advocates for excellence in long-term services and supports wherever consumers live. Call toll-free, 1-800-282-1206, to learn more or to volunteer. Visit www.ombudsman.ohio.gov.

About ODA – The Ohio Department of Aging serves and advocates for the needs of Ohioans age 60 and older, as well as their families, caregivers and communities. Programs include home and community based long-term supports and services, as well as initiatives to promote health and wellness throughout the lifespan. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.

Ohio State will celebrate military students and families with campus flag replacement event

The Ohio State University has a rich and honored history of commitment to military students and families.

In recognition of this commitment, the university will begin a week-long celebration of military students and families with the Inaugural Campus Flag Event, which begins at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at Remembrance Park.

The event begins with a short ceremony honoring veterans and active duty military members. University President Michael Drake and U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers will deliver brief remarks and the keynote speaker will be Ohio National Guard Adjutant General Major General Mark E. Bartman.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, cadets, midshipmen and student veterans will disperse and deliver new American flags to every flag pole on campus.

The replacement of the old flags with new flags is symbolic of Ohio State’s unwavering commitment and support of all military members – past and present – and their continued contribution to the university, the community and the nation.

The university is currently home to over 1,800 current veterans, dependents, and active duty, reserves and National Guard members attending as undergraduate and graduate students; over 1,400 current faculty and staff veterans, and over 400 Tri-service Air Force, Army, and Navy ROTC program participants. ​​

Throughout the week, other campus events honoring military and veteran students include The Department of Athletics will hold four military appreciation games – Nov. 2, women’s volleyball; Nov. 3, football; Nov. 9, women’s basketball; and Nov. 11, men’s basketball. For the football game, the university has planned a military flyover in recognition of Veterans Day.

The annual Memorial Rock Ceremony, which honors fallen Ohio State soldiers at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 8 in front of Bricker Hall, 190 N. Oval Mall. In addition, ROTC cadets will lead the annual Veteran’s Day Silent Run around the Oval.

What: Inaugural campus flag event will conclude with military and veteran students delivering new American flags to every flag pole on campus

When: 1:30 to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6

Where: Remembrance Park, south of Converse Hall, 2121 Tuttle Park Place

November Most Dangerous Month for Deer Activity

Drivers Should be Alert and Avoid Distractions

COLUMBUS — Ohio Department of Insurance Director Jillian Froment and Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent Colonel Paul Pride are urging Ohioans to drive with caution in November, the leading month for deer-vehicle crashes in the state.

“Staying alert and avoiding distractions while driving are always important,” Froment said. “It’s also important to review and make sure you have the insurance coverage you need to help protect your family and other drivers on the road.”

Last November there were nearly 4,000 deer-related crashes on the state’s roadways, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. In total, people were involved in more than 18,400 deer-related crashes in 2017. The most incidents occurred in Stark (501), Richland (450), Clermont (444), Trumbull (435), Hamilton (418), Lorain (405), Hancock (405), Allen (391), Wood (385), and Tuscarawas (377) Counties with high collision counts in most of the other Ohio counties.

“Driving requires your full attention,” Colonel Pride said. “If you see a deer in the roadway slow down but do not swerve. If you strike a deer, move to a safe place, turn on your hazard lights and report the accident.”

Deer are most active at dawn and dusk, and to help keep safe scan the road and shoulders ahead of you. Use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic.

Ohioans should review their insurance. The comprehensive coverage (also known as “other than collision” coverage) portion of an auto insurance policy often is used to pay for deer-vehicle damage repair. A liability-only policy does not cover the damage. Be certain to photograph or video any damage to support an insurance claim.

More safe driving tips are available at www.publicsafety.ohio.gov. Insurance information is located at www.insurance.ohio.gov and you can call the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526 with any questions.

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