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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.

Monday, May 14, 2012

To change or not to change Ohio election law?

The Ohio General Assembly has decided to repeal a controversial new voting law that was on hold waiting for a referendum vote this November.

Ohio Senate Bill 295 essentially repeals House Bill 194, a measure approved last year that would have overhauled much of the state’s election law. Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign S.B. 295.

Passage of S.B. 295 means most of the rules surrounding voting will remain the same. H.B. 194 would have made changes such as reducing the amount of time for early in-person voting, prohibiting mass mailing of applications for absentee ballots, and eliminating a five-day window for people to register to vote and then immediately cast a ballot.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said the referendum is no longer needed and indicated it would save taxpayers $1 million not to place the issue on the ballot. He said it would also eliminate voter confusion in November.

But some Democrats wanted the issue to appear on the ballot in November because they suggested S.B. 295 reaffirmed a change in a separate law that resulted in ending early voting on the weekend before the election.

Democrats argue that is a time when many of their supporters have time or the opportunity to go to the polls.
Some Republicans say there is ample opportunity to cast a vote and also accused Democrats of wanting the referendum to appear before voters as a way to spur their supporters to the poll.

With some uncertainty still surrounding the issue, some interested parties speculate that the issue could eventually be decided by the courts.

So what would that mean if the issue was overturned by the courts? Would it be an appeal to repeal the repeal?

Negative Ned

Does it seem like this presidential election season has filled the airwaves with more negative advertisements than usual?

That might just be the case as recent initiative states that about 70 percent of the ads so far in the national campaign are negative, compared to just one in 10 aired in 2008 at this point in the election.

The analysis was conducted by The Wesleyan Media Project, established in 2010 to track advertising in federal elections.

Many people claim they don’t like all the negative advertising, but folks with years of political campaign experience acknowledge that these ads work because people tend to remember them better.

Think about how this applies to local and state campaigns. Doesn’t there always seem to be a number of campaign fliers, print and online advertisements along with those ad on the airwaves right before Election Day? It’s not just a coincidence, but a strategy.

Lake County Democratic Club

The group elected officers and trustees at its meeting Tuesday. Selected were Mary Feathers, president; Linda Hlebak, vice president; Debbie LoConti, treasurer; Sandy Luther; and trustees Art Hare, Judy Moran, Carol Pred, Judith Junda, Steve Komarjaski, Barry Feathers, and Fred Jones.

n Willoughby-Eastlake Levy Committee will host a pasta dinner fundraiser 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Stadium Bar and Grill in Mentor.

n Eleventh District Court of Appeals Court Judge Mary Jane Trapp will have a fundraiser from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the home of Todd and Susan Petersen in Munson Township. See Mike Apicella.

n Lake County Engineer James R. Gills hosts his 12th annual Pig Roast with guest state Rep. Ron Young, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Lake County FOP Hall Pavilion in Concord Township. See Bruce Landeg.

n Lake County Sheriff Daniel A. Dunlap, 21st annual golf outing and steak dinner June 8 at Painesville Country Club. See Frank Leonbruno, Sheryl DePledge.

n Werner Barthol, candidate for Lake County prosecutor, hosts a Summer Celebration Fundraiser 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 1 at Lake Metroparks Painesville Township Park. See James Falvey or Kelly Barthol.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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