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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Will two state issues affect each other?

Supporters of the Healthcare Freedom Amendment say they turned in more than 546,000 signatures last week to ask Ohio voters to amend the state constitution to exempt people from a federal health care reform law component to buy health insurance or face penalties.

To get the issue on the Nov. 8 ballot, about 385,000 valid signatures needed to be turned in Wednesday to the office of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

The issue is advocated by many conservative groups that oppose the new federal health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama.

Contributing organizations that spearheaded the effort are Ohio Liberty Council, 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, The Ohio Project (which collected 430,000 signatures) and Ohioans for Healthcare Freedom, which will head up the amendment campaign through November.

Those in favor of the amendment have acknowledged that the change won’t overturn the mandate, but they hope to use the amendment to challenge the law in the courts.
Another reason cited by supporters is the amendment would protect Ohioans from any future health care mandate passed by Ohio legislators.

County boards of elections have 10 working days after petitions are received to validate signatures to ensure the issue qualifies for the ballot. If there are not enough valid signatures, additional petitions with signatures may be submitted within 10 days.

Elections boards are also in the middle of validating signatures for a referendum to overturn Senate Bill 5, recently signed into law by Gov. John Kasich. The new law bans public employee strikes and restricts collective bargaining rights for more than 350,000 teachers, police officers, state employees and others.

More than 1.3 million signatures were submitted on petitions to repeal Senate Bill 5. Around 231,000 signatures need to be considered valid for the issue to make the ballot.

How might these two issues impact voter turnout?

Will conservative supporters of the Healthcare Freedom Amendment cancel out the efforts by Democrats and others who are championing repeal of Senate Bill 5? Or will enough support be there at the polls to overturn Senate Bill 5 and defeat the Healthcare Freedom Amendment?

Keep in mind, it’s also possible that voters may overturn Senate Bill 5 and approve the Healthcare Freedom Amendment or vice versa.

Voter rolls

The Lake County Elections Board recently sent out more than 33,000 mailings to registered voters who have not voted since the 2008 November election. The mailings are done to verify people still live at the same address and to establish residency for the purposes of voting.

As of Wednesday, 6,752 had been returned and 1,456 were undeliverable. Voters whose residency is not established may have to cast provisional ballots if they wish to vote during the next election.

Candidate announcement

Christine L. Shoop announced she will seek Painesville Council Ward 1. Shoop, who works in the insurance industry, cites experience on the Painesville Planning Commission and believes that she would provide a high level of service to the city and residents. Shoop has not yet filed petitions with the Lake County Election Board, but has until Aug. 10.

Lake County filings

Recent filings at the Lake County Elections Board are: Joe D’Ambrosio for Eastlake Council Ward 1; Donna Vaughn for Eastlake Council Ward 2; Robert M. Shiner for Mentor Council Ward 1; Jennifer Bittner for Mentor-on-the-Lake Council; Katie Jenkins for Painesville Council Ward 2; Mike Deleone for Painesville Council Ward 3; John Ross for Willowick Ward 1; Ann Turk for Willowick Ward 2; Terry Gerrard-Ditchcreek for Madison Township fiscal officer; Kimberly J. Martin for Perry Schools Board of Education.


* Geauga County Democratic Party annual golf outing today at Pleasant Hill Golf Course in Chardon. Shotgun starts at noon, dinner at 6 p.m. See Dave Netzband.

* Fundraiser for state Rep. Ron Young from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. today at his residence with guest Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder. See Ron Young.

* Eastlake Mayor Ted Andrzejewski, annual golf outing: 8:30 a.m. shotgun start Friday at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Wickliffe. See Ted or Jason Andrzejewski.

* Desirea Thompson, a candidate for Mentor-on-the-Lake Council, hosts a spaghetti dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Stadium Grill in Mentor. See John Thompson.

* Campaign kickoff reception for Jack Johnson, candidate for Euclid mayor, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. July 21 at Tizzano’s Party Center in Euclid. See Frank Ilcin.

* Kirtland Councilman Doug Davidson, a candidate for mayor, hosts a cocktail reception from 7 to 10 p.m. July 28 at a private residence. See John Grazia, Phil Rini or Gina Davidson.

* Lake County Commissioner Robert E. Aufuldish hosts eighth annual Ferrante Winery Celebration from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at Ferrante Winery and Ristorante in Harpersfield Township. See Ernie Koenig or Kathie Aufuldish-Freshour.

-- John Arthur Hutchison | | @newsheraldjah


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