Action Alert: Tell the US Senate to Support the Freedom to Vote Act
1. Fair Districts has been having daily Picket-2-Protest rallies in Columbus in front of the Riffe Center from 12-1pm every day from Oct. 22-Oct 27. The Oct 28th rally will be from 12-2pm with rally attendees giving their testimony about why we want Fair Maps. The rallies are fun and help make our presence heard in the Ohio's legislature. Find a friend (LWV member or not) and make a road trip to Columbus to rally for Fair Districts. The rallies are held in front of the Riffe Center, corner State St and High St.
2. Email the Commission Members (DeWine, LaRose, Faber, Cupp, Huffman, E Sykes, and Sykes) and tell them to get to work.
3.Call Gov DeWine, SOS Frank LaRose and Auditor Faber to ask for Fair Districts and tell them to follow the Constitutional Amendment passed in 2018.
Protecting voting rights; Getting big money out of politics; and Curbing gerrymandering. For months, the American people have been calling for national standards to protect our freedom to vote, ensure fair representation, and get big money out of politics. The introduction of the Freedom to Vote Act is proof that our voices have power in the halls of the US Senate. It's again time to add your voice and speak out! The Freedom to Vote Act ensures that our democracy is protected and serves the American people. Your voice will continue the fight for this sweeping voting rights package.
The attack on our freedom to vote must come to an end.
Since the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, rolled back key provisions of the VRA, the voting rights of millions have been threatened. These attacks have become more prevalent in the last few years, with the VRA being further comprised in the more recent Brnovich v. DNC.
We cannot stand for a democracy that enables such regressive and dangerous attacks, which disproportionately impact Black and brown voters.
The new version of the JLVRAA will restore the VRA and put an end to discriminatory voting policies.
At this critical moment in our nation's history, we need the JLVRAA! Tell your senators to vote yes on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and live up to the full promise of American democracy.
SUB-HB227, The House version of the permitless carry bill is in committee this week. SB215 was in committee earlier this month and is expected to move again VERY SOON. Combined, these two bills
Removing concealed carry licensing and training requirements only puts more lives in danger. These bills threaten the safety of every Ohioan, especially communities of color and law enforcement. Without reasonable safeguards no one is protected. Both bills create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Click here to learn more about these bills.
We need you to take action now!
2.Submit opponent testimony for SUB-HB 227, due by Wednesday at 10 AM. The committee hearing is on Thursday October 14 at 10 AM in Hearing Room 121. In-person testimony is best, but written only testimony is also needed and impactful. Email your testimony and witness slip to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also copy legislative aides email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org on the email.
3.Call members of the House Government Oversight Committee to voice your opposition to this bill. Members of the House Government Oversight Committee are:
Rep. Shane Wilkin (R-91), Chair 614-466-3506
Rep. Andrea White (R-41), Vice Chair 614-644-6008
Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-14) 614-466-3350
Rep. Cindy Abrams (R-29) 614-466-9091
Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-68) 614-466-1431
Tavia Galonski (D-35) 614-644-6037
Timothy Ginter (R-5) 614-466-8022
Stephanie Howse (D-11) 614-466-1414
Don Jones (R-95) 614-644-8728
Brigid Kelly(D-31) 614-466-5786
Phil Plummer (R-40) 614-644-8051
Bill Seitz (R-30) 614-466-8258
Emilia Strong Sykes (D-34) 614-466-3100
As you know, the fight for fair districts continues!
In September, the Ohio Redistricting Commission adopted highly gerrymandered General Assembly maps. These extreme partisan maps were crafted behind closed doors and approved along party lines. The three statewide elected officials on the Commission -- State Auditor Keith Faber, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Governor Mike DeWine -- all expressed reservations about the maps, but then voted for them anyway. The maps are being challenged in court in three separate lawsuits.
Now the Ohio Redistricting Commission is tasked with drawing Ohio's congressional districts. We need to put pressure on the statewide elected commissioners and remind them that Ohioans voted for fair elections in 2015 and 2018 -- and they will vote for politicians who fight for fair maps. If State Auditor Keith Faber, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, or Governor Mike DeWine vote for gerrymandered maps, it will cost them at the ballot box next year.
TAKE ACTION NOW Call Faber, LaRose, and DeWine, and let them know you demand fair maps for Ohio! Click on the link below for their phone numbers and to log your call.
LOG YOUR CALL Thank you for all you do!
Mia Lewis for Common Cause Ohio and Fair Districts
TAKE ACTION IN 3 STEPS
Submit Public Comment Urging State Board of Education Members to VOTE "NO" on Request to Rescind the Resolution to Condemn Racism and Advance Equity. You can present your Public Comment in-person at the Board meeting on October 13 or email your written Public Comment to the Board. PLEASE ATTEND IN-PERSON, if possible.
STEP 3: EMAIL THE FORM AND PUBLIC COMMENT BY SUNDAY, OCT 10. Email to SBOE@education.ohio.gov
Wednesday, October 13, 9am
25 South Front Street, Columbus
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More about the Issue: It is critical that the Resolution to Condemn Racism and Advance Equity continue to inform the policies and practices of Ohio's K-12 education system. If you cannot present your Public Comment in-person, submit your Public Comment in writing.
YOUR Public Comment Makes a Difference!
The Resolution to Condemn Racism and Advance Equity and Opportunity for Black Students, Indigenous Students, and Students of Color was adopted in July 2020, by a 12-5 vote, with one abstention. It is a comprehensive framework addressing racism and systemic inequities and disparities within Ohio's 610+ school districts. The resolution also calls for internal examinations of bias within district standards, curricula, testing, and practices.
Learn more HERE
While the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus informally released proposed maps, the Commission itself neither released maps nor explained when maps would be forthcoming.
Commission member and Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes asked repeatedly when and how the commission would be developing and releasing proposed maps, but Co-chair and Speaker of the House Bob Cupp declined to specify. He simply stated, "A map is being developed carefully with regard to the data and constitutional requirements. It is unlikely to be available before Sept. 1."
So, we neither have official maps to consider, nor do we have a timetable of when state legislative maps will be introduced or the dates of upcoming public hearings. This is unacceptable!
The new rules established by the Commission today only provide 24 hours notice for a hearing. This is simply inadequate. We need to know when official maps will be introduced, and we need a complete schedule of public hearings so citizen advocates can fully prepare to participate in a meaningful way.
We are calling on Fair Districts supporters and advocates of open government to immediately take action to demand that the Ohio Redistricting Commission co-chairs set a complete schedule for introducing maps and holding public hearings.
A minimum of three public hearings to consider proposed maps is required by the Ohio Constitution. Ohioans deserve to know when, where, and how many hearings to expect! Join us in calling on the Commission members to abide by the spirit and letter of the new redistricting rules and prioritize keeping the public informed and engaged in the process.
A committee of League Members is working on getting voters who have been purged earlier this year to be re-egistered. Over 5000 voters were purged for missing elections over the last 4-6 years. We have phone numbers for over 2000 of these purged voters so we would appreciate help from others. We have "talking points" for members to use.
MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK!
Contact: Barb Colvin at email@example.com
The U.S. House Of Representatives just passed HR 51, the Washington DC Admission Act. The District of Columbia is home to over 700,000 people and yet does not have voting members in the U.S House and Senate. The people of the District of Columbia are denied a voice in Congress, unable to advocate for or fight against federal policies, while simultaneously dealing with congressional and federal interference in its local priorities.
The people of Washington DC deserve the same rights as any American living in our 50 states. They deserve full representation in Congress and to be free of Congressional interference in their local governance. LWVUS supports the admission of the District of Columbia as our 51st state.
This legislation is an historic opportunity to ensure that DC residents are no longer disenfranchised. Don't let the will and voice of 700,000 people be overlooked and ignored. Urge your Senators to fight for DC statehood and support S51.
Contact your Senators today!
The For the People Act is the fair representation bill the American people want and deserve. This legislation will put power back into the hands of American voters by making voting easier and more accessible and by modernizing future elections. The For the People Act addresses some of the most pressing issues facing our democracy by:
Modernizing our voter registration system; Restoring voting rights to formerly-incarcerated individuals; Curbing partisan gerrymandering; and Making campaign contributions more transparent Over the last two years, we saw the bill pass the House of Representatives, but got stalled in the Senate. But we cannot let this happen again. The House passed the For the People Act earlier this year. The bill has just come up for the first time ever for a vote in the Senate on June 23rd, unfortunately the vote deadlocked at 50-50. This just means it is more important than ever to make your voice heard as any movement serves to advance the legislation!
Contact your Senators TODAY and tell them to Vote Yes on the For the People Act. Return control of our government back where it belongs--into the hands of the people.
Both bills severely restrict and censor what and how K-12 school districts, higher education institutions, and political subdivisions can teach their students and how they can train their staff; AND removes up to 100% of state funding and professional licensing for violations!
Send a message to legislators demanding they stop the progress of these bills!
Furthermore, the Senate is attempting to tie this provision into the budget to ensure that it happens one way or another!
We are running out of time and need you to act now to ensure Ohio judges remain fair and nonpartisan when doing their job.
1. Call Senator Matt Dolan at (614) 466-8056 and Senate President Matt Huffman (614) 466-7584 with the following message:
I urge you to remove judicial partisanship provision from the budget bill, which would require certain judicial candidates to appear on the ballot with a party designation. Although SB80 passed in the Senate, it has nothing to do with the budget and needs to be fully and carefully considered in the House before becoming law.
2. Click here to send a message to your Ohio legislators. .
On June 1 the senate offered an alternative to the Fair School Funding Plan. Sen. Dolan wants to pass the plan by June 10 + giving lawmakers and the public less than nine days to vet this option. It's a far cry from the three years of research, review, and revision that produced the widely popular Fair School Funding Plan.
The senate must reject this last-minute proposal that weakens our system of public schools. It fails to provide either adequate or equitable funding for public education while expanding support for vouchers and charter schools. The senate plan is generous with voucher spending increasing EdChoice vouchers for K-8 by $850 per student and high school by $1,500, and Autism vouchers by $4,500. By contrast, public schools would receive a $90 increase in per pupil aid, no increases in categorical funds, and steep reductions in investments in transportation.
The Fair School Funding Plan calls for a minimum increase in basic aid for public school students of $1,000 per student, and significant additions to help offset the unique needs of students and communities.
Let our lawmakers know this option is unacceptable.
Send the attached message to your senator and the senate architects of this failed plan AND follow up with a call (phone numbers will show after you submit your message)
Click here to learn more about the Fair School Funding Plan.
After conducting one of the most secure elections in Ohio's history in 2020, the state legislature just introduced HB 294, a voting reform bill that adds some potentially good provisions, but also includes a host of anti-voter provisions, like
We need to speak up right now to hold our leaders accountable so that we can keep the good and throw out the bad in this bill. Send a message to your legislator to demand they remove deliberate barriers to voting.
Your help is needed today to prevent an effort by Senate President Matt Huffman to push forward a Constitutional Amendment that would radically change the redistricting process and undermine the spirit of the 2015 and 2018 redistricting reforms.
Because US census data will be arriving later than usual, Ohio will need a new timeline for drawing district maps. Fair Districts has been urging Ohio mapmakers to get to work on this important business for weeks now -- see our April 5 letter. But instead of holding public hearings, Senate President Huffman hastily put together a proposal for a Constitutional Amendment that circumvents the fair redistricting process put in place by "our" reforms. It gives complete power to the legislature to determine a new timeline -- and it doesn't even insist that maps be drawn using decennial census data.
Take a look at our press statement -- then TAKE ACTION. Email Ohio lawmakers and urge them to reject any attempt to approve a Constitutional Amendment that could be used to cut the public out of the redistricting process and rig maps for extreme partisan outcomes.
Thank you for advocating for Fair Districts in Ohio!
Mia Lewis and the whole Fair Districts team
The Operating Budget has moved on to the Senate, and Senators may cut back the plan or remove it altogether.
The Fair School Funding Plan, when fully funded, would provide every public school in the state with resources to deliver a high-quality education to every student. If approved, it will ensure that no student or public school is disadvantaged because of income level or location.
Since 1997 the courts have repeatedly found that the state's investment in public education has not met its obligation to be adequate and equitable. Finally, there is a REAL remedy.
The plan, as written, accounts for the diversity of Ohio's 609 school districts and 1.5 million students. Its strength comes from using the actual cost of educating a student to determine the amount of funding guaranteed to all students, and from more accurately identifying the capacity of local communities to pay their share of the cost. The plan also increases the state's contribution to transportation, and educating children who live in poverty, are gifted or have disabilities. It ends deduction funding for charter schools and vouchers.
The result is a funding mechanism, which when fully funded:
Gives all students access to a public school with adequate resources for a high quality education. Makes funding predictable and budgeting possible. Evens the playing field by disentangling voucher and charter funding from local school district budgets. Reduces reliance on property taxes. Strengthens our system of public education and our democracy. LWVO supports the plan, its inclusion in the state budget, and an open process to guide legislative action.
You can make a difference. Click here to fill out our action alert and send a message to your state senator, and then follow the prompts to call the Ohio Senate leadership. Finally, encourage your family and friends to do the same. Don't be silent.
Proponents of this bill argue that a party affiliation would help voters choose a judge at the ballot box. While much work remains to be done on educating the public about judicial candidates/races, this is not the way to do it!
In states where such policies have been enacted, studies have shown that the independence and integrity of courts were threatened. Across the country, partisan judicial races have led to significantly higher campaign contributions and increased partisanship among judges. Increased campaign contributions in judicial races affect case outcomes; judges with big donors feel pressure to please those donors and avoid politicized attacks rather than solely decide cases based on their understanding of the facts and the law.
TAKE ACTION NOW TO ENSURE JUDICIAL RACES REMAIN NONPARTISAN. Ohio must commit to ensuring that its judges carry out their responsibilities with fairness and impartiality.
Call your state senator and Senate president Matt Huffman to stop this vote!
Senate President Matt Huffman: 614-466-7584
Your sample script: I urge you to vote no on SB80, which would require certain judicial candidates to appear on the ballot with a party designation. It is the job of a judge to be fair, impartial, and free from partisanship, and nonpartisan elections are critical in ensuring that judges carry out their responsibilities with fairness and impartiality. Thank you for your consideration.
This year Ohio congressional and state legislative district maps will be redrawn with new rules overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2015 and 2018. Given the adjusted Census timeline, official mapmakers must act NOW to create a new schedule that preserves public participation and oversight and allows mapmakers to hear from experts.
Yesterday, Fair Districts Ohio sent a letter to Ohio mapmakers with specific recommendations to ensure transparent and fair mapmaking in light of adjusted delivery date for Census data.
Act Now: Urge Ohio mapmakers to fulfill the promise of these reforms and start hearings right away.
Since 1997 the courts have repeatedly found that the state's investment in public education has not met its obligation to be adequate and equitable.
Finally, there is a REAL remedy. The plan, if passed as written will:
Increase funding by using the actual cost of educating students to establish the base cost + the per pupil amount guaranteed for every student; More accurately assess local capacity to contribute to the base cost; Increase resources for certain categories of children where cost exceeds the base cost - those living in poverty, gifted, special education; and Directly fund charters and vouchers, so that public school students do not forfeit state funds appropriated for them. LWVO supports this bill and the core ingredients that are so essential to a fair system. Every voice is needed to make sure that the legislature acts in a timely way, and honors the intentions of the authors.
Click here to learn more about this legislation and how it will help provide a quality education for every child in Ohio.
Improve access for senior, student, low-income, and rural Ohio voters
Allow counties to have multiple drop boxes and multiple early voting centers. Many voters live far away from the county seat, have inconsistent US mail service, or don't have reliable transportation. In 2020, too many Ohioans endured undue burden to vote early; in at least 10 counties voters had to wait in line two hours or longer to access the dropbox or vote early.
ASK: Introduce and pass legislation to allow multiple drop boxes and early vote centers.
Adopt Agency Voter Verification & Registration (VVR)
Improve the accuracy of voter rolls by automatically registering eligible citizens when they interact with state government, unless they opt-out. This commonsense reform also improves the security of our voter registration database and saves money.
ASK: Introduce and pass Automated Voter Registration legislation.
Pass online online absentee ballot requests
Permit voters to submit online absentee ballot applications so that applications can be processed more accurately and efficiently. The COVID pandemic made clear that our vote by mail system is inefficient, confusing, and cumbersome for both voters and election officials.
ASK: Introduce and pass online absentee ballot request.
Secure Voter Registration Systems
Senate Bill 14 requires the Secretary of State to adopt rules establishing guidelines for the approval and continued certification of voter registration systems. More secure registration systems would reduce the likelihood of registration errors that would disenfranchise voters, provide Ohioans the confidence that their registrations are secure and accurate, and give county boards of elections the tools to effectively and efficiently carry out their jobs.
ASK IN THE SENATE: Please vote yes on SB14. Take Action Now
Background: Currently, Ohio's 88 county boards of elections lack centralization and oversight in the administration of their voter registration systems. As technology plays an increasingly larger role in elections, it is vital to create a process for reviewing and certifying vendors of systems such as electronic pollbooks and ballot printers and mailers.
During the 2020 General Election season, Franklin County voters experienced significant detrimental effects that could have been avoided had SB 14's provisions been in place -- a mailing system that sent the wrong ballots to thousands of people and an electronic pollbook system that crashed trying to upload the unprecedented volume of data.
Senate Bill 14 provides Ohioans the confidence that their registrations are secure and accurate, and gives county boards of elections the tools to effectively and efficiently carry out their jobs.