by German Lopez
Conservative groups are pushing Ohio to purge its voter
rolls. The move is largely seen by Democrats as an attempt to
disenfranchise and suppress voters. The groups in support of the purge, which include Judicial Watch and True the Vote, typically cite
voter-related errors and voter fraud as the main reason for their efforts, but
there have been 10 cases of in-person voter fraud since 2000, according to a
News21 study. Florida Gov. Rick Scott also pushed for a voter purge in his state, but Democrats vowed to fight the purge at every step.The Historic Conservation Board ruled in favor of the Anna
Louise Inn yesterday. The ruling means the inn can now move ahead with
its multi-million renovation project. The board’s ruling was despite
Western & Southern, which has tried to block the renovation as part
of a broader attempt to shut down the inn and buy up the property. CityBeat extensively covered W&S’s attempts here.Cincinnati is No. 7 in the country for job growth, a study
from Arizona State University found. Cincinnati beat out Riverside,
Calif., but it lost to San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle
and San Diego.Secretary of State Jon Husted was advised to fire the
Democrats on the Montgomery Board of Elections by Jon Allison, who
overheard the hearing on the firings on Aug. 20. Allison is also the
former chief of staff to Republican Gov. Bob Taft. The Democrats on the
board attempted to expand in-person early voting to weekends despite
Husted’s call to uniform voting hours that include no weekend voting.
Ohio Democratic Party Chris Redfern said the recommendation was “no
surprise” and the Republican Party should be expected to support
voter suppression by now.
Josh Mandel, excessive liar, Ohio treasurer and senatorial
candidate for Ohio, described Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio as
“un-American” for his vote supporting the auto bailout, which
helped protect 850,000 jobs in Ohio’s auto industry. But Mandel still
refuses to give specifics on what he would have done differently to protect
the auto industry. The federal government has given the go-ahead for fracking in Wayne
National Forest in Ohio. The go-ahead will open up more than 3,300 acres for auction. Environmental critics say fracking is unsafe and
should be banned, but Gov. John Kasich insists the process can be made
safe with proper regulations. Previous analyses have found natural gas,
which is produced from fracking, could help combat climate change. CityBeat previously covered the uncertainty behind fracking here.Kentucky is getting another creationist attraction. Apparently
not content with the false claims asserted at the Creation
Museum and Ark Encounter, a new group wants to build a brick-and-mortar
for the Founders of Creation Science Hall of Fame.Republicans almost went a day without saying something
offensive about women. Tom Smith, Republican candidate for
Pennsylvania’s senate seat, compared pregnancy from rape to pregnancy
out of wedlock. Last week, Paul Ryan, Republican vice presidential candidate, described rape as a "method of conception."Most people might not remember it since it’s rarely
mentioned in the news anymore, but America is still at war in
Afghanistan. Yesterday, the Taliban beheaded 17 civilians for having a
party, two U.S. soldiers were killed by an Afghan soldier and 10 Afghan
soldiers died to insurgents.A private funeral service is planned in Cincinnati for
Neil Armstrong, who died last Saturday. A public funeral will be held at
Wapakoneta. Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. His first
steps inspired curiosity and innovation around the world when he said,
“One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Politicians will
talk up Armstrong’s accomplishment in the following days, but Democrats and Republicans both supported cuts to NASA’s budget in
recent years that Armstrong opposed.
by German Lopez
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown was in Cincinnati yesterday to
launch his Small Business Owners for Sherrod group. At the event, Brown
touted his small business and job creating credentials and received
endorsements from leaders of small businesses, which Brown says are
vital to restoring the economy. A letter of endorsement from John
Pepper, retired CEO of Procter & Gamble, was read aloud at
the event. In the letter, Pepper said, “Brown brings a level of
experience and maturity to the office that it demands and that his
opponent does not possess.” Brown’s opponent — Josh Mandel — is known to
lie from time to time.A federal judge issued a final ruling yesterday banning the tiny free speech zones at the University of Cincinnati. The zones were declared to be too restricting of constitutional rights to free speech. The ruling is seen as a major victory for student rights.Ohio Democrats are pushing a bill that would require Gov.
John Kasich and every governor after him to go before the Ohio House of
Representatives for 45-minute question and answer periods 10 times a
year. Local Rep. Denise Driehaus is one of the bill’s co-sponsors.Move to Amend will host a forum on corporate personhood in
Cincinnati. Corporate personhood refers to court rulings that established constitutional rights
for corporations. Critics argue the ruling makes corporations too powerful. Move to Amend wants to pass an amendment that would overturn the rulings. The forum will take place at the Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church on Aug. 29 between 7 and 9 p.m.In response to the ongoing controversy about early voting,
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has some advice: deal with it. In a
statement yesterday, Husted said, “The rules are set and are not going
to change.” It’s doubtful the statement will actually stop criticism,
which has been recently leveled at racist remarks from Doug Preisse,
chairman to the Franklin County Republican Party and close adviser to
Gov. John Kasich.A poll from the University of Cincinnati shows both the
presidential and senatorial races are close. The poll has President
Barack Obama three points over opponent Mitt Romney with Obama at 49
percent and Romney at 46 percent, but the poll’s margin of error is 3.4
percent. The senatorial race is even closer: Brown is at 48 percent and
Mandel is at 47 percent. Aggregate polling has the presidential race
close somewhat close, but the senatorial race is much more in Brown’s favor.Home sales are up in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
Median home sale prices are still below where they were a year ago, but
the news is a sign the economy could be recovering.Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is suing Larry Foster, a
water system seller that works in Cincinnati and Columbus under the
names Water's Edge, DC Water Solution and Water Pro, for multiple
alleged violations of consumer protection laws. The lawsuit claims
Foster did not deliver water systems or, if he did, failed to install
them properly or at all.Once again, Ohio tested above the national average in the
ACT, a test that measures high school students’ potential ability in
college. ACT officials said Ohio is one of the few states notably
pushing to improve in math and science.The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says if
Congress fails to act, the economy could plunge back into recession. The
worry is that Congress will fail to extend tax cuts and stop budget
cuts.Nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t name a single Supreme Court justice.How to keep bananas ripe: spray them with recycled shrimp shells.
by German Lopez
Democratic council members call for extended early voting
In a letter to the Hamilton
County Board of Elections, City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld today asked the
Board to extend in-person early voting hours in the county. Council members
Roxanne Qualls, Chris Seelbach, Cecil Thomas,
Laure Quinlivan, Yvette Simpson and Wendell Young also signed the letter.
Council members Christopher Smitherman, an Independent, and Charlie Winburn, a Republican, were notified
of the letter Thursday, but they did not agree to sign.
voting will begin on Oct. 2 and run until Nov. 2. If hours are not
extended, polls in Hamilton County will only be open on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. If the Board agrees to Sittenfeld's recommendations,
early voting will be extended to 8 p.m. on weekdays and Saturday
The letter brings home a political controversy that has recently gained
national attention. In recent weeks, Democrats have accused state Republicans of extending in-person early voting in
predominantly Republican counties and keeping shorter in-person early
voting hours in predominantly Democratic counties.
Democrats typically point to Warren County and Butler
County — two predominantly Republican counties with extended in-person
early voting — and the recent actions of Ohio Secretary of State Jon
Husted. In the predominantly Democratic counties of Lucas, Cuyahoga,
Summit and Franklin, Husted had to break ties in Boards of Election
on the issue of in-person early voting hours. In every case, Husted
voted against extending in-person early voting hours.
Jerid Kurtz, spokesperson for Ohio Democratic Party, says
the move follows a clear Republican trend: "Every opportunity that
presents itself, Republicans take away the right to vote."
referring to Republicans' initial push to end
in-person early voting in Ohio. In 2011, Republicans passed two laws —
H.B. 194 and H.B. 224 — that ended in-person early voting in the state. After
Democrats managed to get enough petition signatures to put the early
on the November ballot, Republicans repealed H.B. 194. However, by not
repealing H.B. 224, Republicans have made it so all non-military voters
are still disallowed to vote the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before
Election Day. Democrats
and President Barack Obama have filed a lawsuit to restore those early
voting days for all voters, including military personnel and families.Democrats
like Kurtz argue that in-person early voting is necessary to
maintain reliable, efficient elections. In 2004, Ohio did not have
in-person early voting in place, and the state drew national attention
when its long voting lines forced some people to wait as long as 10 hours
to vote. After the debacle, a Republican-controlled legislature and
Gov. Bob Taft, also a Republican, passed laws allowing in-person early voting.But
now Republicans seem skeptical of their own laws.
Republicans say the measures are meant to cut costs and stop voter
fraud, but Democrats say the measures are all about suppressing the vote. In
a moment of honesty, former Florida Republican Chairman Jim Greer told
MSNBC that the measures are about disenfranchising demographics that typically side with Democrats. Even Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has stepped in to criticize Republicans for what he sees as disenfranchisement.Husted told reporters at Cleveland's The Plain Dealer that he is considering establishing uniform rules. With such rules,
every county would have the same in-person early voting hours.But Kurtz says the talk about a uniform rule is "pure
silliness." He says counties have differences, so they need
different voting times. Instead of worrying about uniformity or what
counties can afford, Kurtz says Husted should worry managing elections
and "empowering people to vote."
The calls for extended early voting come a time when
Hamilton County is facing budget issues. With a $20 million budget
shortfall projected for next year, affording more early voting hours might
be difficult. No official estimate has been released on how much the
extended hours would cost.The Hamilton County Board of Elections will meet Thursday at 9 a.m. to discuss extending in-person early voting hours.
by German Lopez
Former Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan
Heffner, who was forced to resign amid controversy, has cashed out with
$160,428.17. The money comes from saved-up vacation time, sick days and
personal time. Heffner will get all this money, even though he had to
resign in shame after an investigation from the Ohio inspector general
found Heffner had been misusing state resources and used his
political position to benefit his other employer.
The Horseshoe Casino is kicking off its hiring process for
a new batch of employees. In total, the casino is seeking to fill 750
new positions. New employees must be 21 and have a high school diploma
or GED, among other requirements. The casino says it’s committed to
keeping at least 90 percent of its workforce from the Greater Cincinnati
area. It’s currently estimated to open in spring 2013.The early voting controversy has reached Hamilton County.
The Democrats in City Council are pushing for extended in-person early
voting hours as Democrats around the state accuse Republicans of voter
suppression. The Hamilton County Board of Elections will decide on the
voting hours issue tomorrow at 9 a.m.Four Greater Cincinnati companies ranked in the 2012 Inc.
500 list of the fastest-growing businesses nationwide, up from one last
year. This year, NorAm International Partners, Tiger Fitness, Graybach
and Integrity Express Logistics made the list.The Brent Spence Bridge passed a major regulatory hurdle
Tuesday. The Federal Highway Administration declared that the bridge has
no significant environmental impact, which will allow bridge operators
to skip filing an environmental impact statement.Ohio Democrats are suing Gov. John Kasich over his public
schedule. Democrats say Kasich is breaking the law by not being more
transparent about his public schedule. They also suspect Kasich is campaigning on the behalf of presidential candidate Mitt Romney.The Ohio endangered species list has been updated. The bobcat
is no longer listed as endangered, although it is still considered
threatened. The list’s updates can be seen here.The Cincinnati Archdiocese debuted a plan to improve
Catholic schools in the Greater Cincinnati area. The plan will also make the
schools more affordable.Paul Ryan will be at Miami University today. The visit was organized by the university's campus Republicans. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m., and the event will start at 5:30 p.m. Instructions for tickets can be found on the Miami Republicans' Facebook page.Much to the dismay one of Romney’s surrogates, CNN’s
Soledad O’Brien called out the Romney campaign for propagating an
impossible budget and spreading lies about Obamacare. John Sununu, who
was on O’Brien’s show on behalf of Romney, did not appreciate the
lecture in reality, and he said O’Brien should wear an Obama bumper
sticker on her forehead. Unfortunately for Sununu and the rest of the
Romney team, it is true that Obamacare does not cut Medicare benefits to
seniors, and it’s also true Romney’s plan is impossible without similar cuts
to entitlement programs.It seems like Mother Teresa may have died an atheist. At
the very least, her faith in Catholicism was greatly diminished before
death.A new study has found that antibacterial soap could cause muscle function impairment.Behold, the Pizzabon.
by German Lopez
New system will save taxpayer money and combat voter fraud
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced today that
there is a new way for registered voters to change their voting address:
If the state had done this in 2008, about 130,000 provisional ballots could have been cast as regular ballots, according to Husted. Provisional ballots are ballots used to record a vote when there are questions surrounding a voter's eligibility. Provisional ballots are sometimes discounted if a person fails to prove his/her eligibility to vote.
“This added convenience for voters is also a powerful tool against voter
fraud as current and accurate voter rolls leave less room for abuse,” Husted said in a press release.Husted said the new system will also save tax dollars. For each
registration done online instead of by mail or in-person, the state
The website requires four identification keys: a last
name, an Ohio driver's license number, the last four digits of a Social
Security number and a date of birth. Registered voters that supply this
information will be able to submit an application for an address change.
Applications will be reviewed by county election boards.
If the address change is accepted, the election board will send an
acceptance letter by mail to the new address.
The state is working heavily with the Ohio Bureau of Motor
Vehicles to share voter data. At this time, more than 6 million of
Ohio's registered voters will be able to change their addresses online.
To change an address online, voters can visit the Ohio
Secretary of State page at MyOhioVote.com. Anyone who registers between
now and October will also be put in a line to receive an application to
vote by mail for the November elections.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Cincinnati voters will decide in November whether to double the length of their council members’ terms.
by German Lopez
Local state representative candidate Mike Wilson clarifies press release
The campaign manager of Mike Wilson, the Republican candidate for state representative in Ohio’s 28th district, sent out a press release late afternoon Monday. Its headline read: “Wilson stands with military voters: Opposed Obama effort to attack military voting rights.”The accusation localized a national issue that had been driven through networks all weekend. It started with presidential candidate Mitt Romney. On Saturday, after Romney was asked a question about a lawsuit President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party had filed against state officials to restore all early voting in Ohio, the Romney camp posted a statement on Romney’s Facebook page: "President Obama's lawsuit claiming it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state’s early voting period is an outrage." The message went on to say Romney stands by the "fifteen military groups" opposing the lawsuit.To be clear, the lawsuit Obama and the Democratic Party filed on July 17 is not meant to diminish or take away anyone’s voting rights. On the contrary, it is meant to give early voting rights to everyone, including military personnel. Right now, in-person early voting begins on Oct. 2, but it is cut off three days before Election Day for everyone except military personnel and their families, who keep the right to vote in-person on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day. If the lawsuit is successful, those three days of in-person early voting will be extended to the rest of Ohio’s voting population.So any accusation that Obama and the Democrats are trying to take away or attack anyone’s voting rights is false.But that has not deterred Republicans from using the attack. They used it in press releases and statements all day Monday. The Wilson campaign invoked the attack in its own press release when it said it opposed the “Obama effort to attack military voting rights.” But Wilson’s opposition is a bit more nuanced than the political spin Republicans have wrongfully put on Obama’s lawsuit.“I think there are a few potential outcomes out of the lawsuit: One is the three days are extended to everyone, another is the court strikes down the three days altogether,” Wilson says.Wilson is worried a court could agree with the premise of the lawsuit — that it is unconstitutional to give one group of people, meaning military personnel, extra voting rights — but not the goal of the lawsuit: that all in-person early voting rights should be extended to all Ohio citizens. The result of that ruling could be the repeal of the three extra in-person voting days. That would ensure everyone’s rights are treated equally because then no one would have the extra right of voting in-person one, two or three days early.However, this outcome is not desirable by the Obama team or the Democrats. On the contrary, Ohio Democrats have repeatedly pushed for legislation that restores early voting rights Republican legislators did away with in H.B. 194 and H.B. 224 in 2011. Before those two laws, Ohio allowed everyone to vote in-person a full five weeks before Election Day. So if Obama and the Democrats had their way, this lawsuit would not be necessary because all in-person early voting days would still be available to all Ohio voters, just like they were in 2008 and 2010.If the Obama lawsuit reaches its goal and voting rights are extended to all citizens, Wilson still has some concerns. Under that scenario, Wilson is worried military personnel would have longer lines when they go out to vote, which he says would be harder on military personnel that have restrictions on travel and free time due to their jobs.But those restrictions on travel and free time are why absentee ballots exist in the first place, and absentee ballots would be unaffected by the Obama lawsuit. Absentee ballots allow voters — traditionally military voters — to mail in ballots without showing up to a polling station. Military personnel can start mailing in absentee ballots starting on Oct. 2, regardless of the lawsuit.The two scenarios Wilson presented are similar to the reasons given by military organizations for opposing the lawsuit.Even if either scenario came true, all Ohioans — including military personnel — will still be able to vote early starting Oct. 2. The lawsuit only deals with in-person voting on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 1, 2012
The state representative Alicia Reece has introduced a bill that would reduce
the number of reasons for making voters cast provisional ballots and
also clarifies that election officials will be held responsible for
errors instead of blaming voters.
Seelbach focuses on social justice, development
0 Comments · Tuesday, January 24, 2012
The phrase, ‘Cincinnati’s first openly
gay council member’ has been regularly linked to Chris Seelbach’s name
in media reports ever since his November election. In an interview last
week, Seelbach told CityBeat that this label helped him win his
seat on council and is an integral part of his identity as a man and a
city leader, but it’s far from a complete picture of who he is.
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 11, 2009
It’s a sorry fact that political party leaders in Hamilton County like to undermine voters when it suits their own interests, but now some Cincinnati City Council members are jumping on that bandwagon. People who follow local politics remember the odious deal struck last year between the local Democratic and Republican parties regarding the two separate Hamilton County Commission races.