Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Reform Ohio Now: Election ResultsPosted by Tim Tagaris
This is your one stop shopping for information on the Reform Ohio Now amdendments. You can follow the election results live at Ohio's Secretary of State Website. I'll be keeping a tally here and over at Grow Ohio while providing the latest information from what I see on local TV and a direct line to the good folks at RON in Cleveland. The polls close at 7:30 Eastern time, so start checking back in around then.
Percent Reporting: 75%
7:55 - The first results tally .3% of the precincts available, so I'll hold off on an updated chart. They show 2 & 3 leading narrowly, 4 and 5 trailing handily. The bad news is that they include returns from Cuyhahoga County (Cleveland area).
8:27 - Still too early. Less than 1% of the votes in right now, but all four are trailing, and big. The good news is that these are probably absentee. The bad news is that these returns include Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Mahoning Counties. This might not be good, at all, in the least. Still too early, again.
8:51 - Not good. Here's the deal on the county breakdowns. The counties with %'s reporting are most deeply red. The ones that we can generally count on, Cuyahoga, Athens, and Mahoning are are most absentee ballots at this point, but we are still trailing in those. Unfortunately, counties like Franklin and now Cuyahoga are starting to report numbers from today, and we still trail in those individual counties on the issues that should pass easily, 2 and 3.
9:38 - I think I am getting very very close to calling this as defeat for all four Reform Ohio Now amendments. Even the ones that should be passing (2 & 3) trail even in Cuyahoga, Mahoning, and Franklin Counties. This is not good news at all. Cuyahoga only has 12% reporting, so we'll see. But if those results hold up, and I think it will based on higher percentages coming in from Franklin and other areas we should be carrying, the evening is just about done. Unfortunately, the next update might bring news of concession on all four issues. At this point though, it's safe to say that Issues 4 and 5 will not pass, or even come close.
RON: Day Begins With Vote Machines ProblemsPosted by Tim Tagaris
The day got off the an inauspicious beginning in Ohio, and it had to do with voting machines...again. From the Toledo Blade:
Voting so far on new touch-screen machines has not been quite as seamless as local board of elections officials had hoped. Lucas County Board of Elections director Jill Kelly said some voters left the precincts this morning without voting because the machines were not up and running. She urged people who had problems to return and cast their ballots.
Lucas County is Toledo. But that wasn't the only place with problems...
Wood County residents in some precincts arrived at 6:30 a.m. only to find that the machines were not yet up and running, said elections director Terry Burton. But all precincts had at least one machine up by 6:40 a.m. and all machines in the majority of the county were available for voters by about 7:30 a.m., he said.
Only in Ken Blackwell's world is functional machines in *a majority* of the county acceptable. How about the entire county? No, that would be too much to ask.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
RON: 2 Lead, 1 Trails, 1 TiedPosted by Tim Tagaris
The Columbus Dispatch released new poll numbers on the four Reform Ohio Now amendments. As expected, State Issues 2 & 3 (absentee and contributions) appear in position to pass quite easily. State Issue Five (SoS) has lost some ground, but remains within the margin of error. Sadly, State Issue Four (redistricting) is trailing by a wide margin and has slipped since the last CD poll. The glimmer of hope remains in the high number of undecideds.
Columbus Dispatch. 1,872 Registered Voters. 10/24/05 to 11/03/05. MOE +- of 2.5%.
State Issue 2 (absentee balloting)
Yes - 59% (68)
No - 33% (28)
Undecided - 9% (7)
State Issue 3 (contribution limits)
Yes: 61% (70)
No: 25% (15)
Undecided: 14% (15)
State Issue 4 (redistricting)
Yes: 31% (28)
No: 45% (38)
Undecided: 25% (36)
State Issue 5 (Role of SoS)
Yes: 41% (42)
No: 43% (37)
Undecided: 16% (20)
Two more days. There is still a great need for volunteers. You can get involved with Reform Ohio Now by clicking here.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Six Days, Two Commercials, One GOTV PlanPosted by Tim Tagaris
A lot has taken place in the last 24 hours in the race to reform Ohio. Two commercials and a nifty 120 hour GOTV operation released by supporters of reform. Both commercials make a very important pivot in the stretch run, connecting the status quo to "Governor fifteen percent," AKA "Mr. Popularity," AKA Republican Governor Bob Taft. First the sizzle, but after you watch the commercials, make sure to take a bite of the steak. If you are from Ohio, please consider getting invovled with the GOTV operation. If you are from anywhere else, they actually have an organized 50 state phone bank available for people to use their free minutes on this weekend.
The first commericial was created by the Citizens to End Corruption. This group is not one of the two major players (Reform Ohio Now & Ohio First), but have raised several hundred thousand dollars to put spots up on the air statewide. This is their second.
Commercial two was created by the good folks at Reform Ohio Now and just might be the best yet of the entire lot. Really.
120 Hour GOTV Plan The lead of the email I received unveiling the plan called it, "the most important email you have received from Reform Ohio Now," and they weren't lying.
Clicking the link below may mean the difference between bringing the change Ohio desperately needs and getting more of the same. Thousands of you have been working for months, and now it's down to a few short days. If you want change in Ohio, we truly need you to help get out the vote for Issues 2, 3, 4 & 5 as election day approaches on Nov. 8. Please learn more and sign up today at:Reform Ohio has their nifty GOTV map and operation up and running on their website. Just click here and find out how and where you can be deployed most effectively in the stretch run. You'll notice at the bottom of the page, there is also a mechansim for out-of-staters to get involved with Reform Ohio Now this weekend.
Why are we making such a big deal out of this?
Since 2005 is an off-year, traditionally low-turnout election, our success will hinge on our ability to urge people to get out and vote. This is the week to get involved, even if you've never volunteered before -- especially if you've never volunteered before!
We'll connect you with a local organizer and other volunteers and give you everything you need.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Reform Ohio Now: By the NumbersPosted by Tim Tagaris
Good guys: Reform Ohio Now
Bad Guys: Ohio First
Number of Issues: 4
Numbers on the ballot: Issues 2-5
Average contribution amount to Ohio First: $12,941
Average contribution to Reform Ohio Now: $545
Total contributions to Reform Ohio Now: ~3,300
Total contributors to Ohio First: 170
Amount of $ Contributed by George Soros: $0
Amount of times Republicans have linked George Soros to RON: Countless
Issue that addresses campaign finance: State Issue #3
Issue that addresses redistricting: State Issue #4
% of Ohioans that favor State Issue #4: 43.5%
Number of conties in OH-18: 16
Number of counties in OH-5: 16
Number of times Franklin County is cut: 3
% of the vote received by George Bush in 2004: 51%
% of the vote received by John Kerry in 2004: 49%
Closest Congressional Election in 2004: 18% victory for Michael Oxley
Congressional delegation Breakdown: 12 Republicans - 6 Democrats (66% Republican)
Number of provisional ballots cast in 2004: ~250,000
Issue that addresses "no fault" absentee balloting: State Issue #2
Number of criminal misdeamenors Gov. Taft was convicted of: Four
Jack Abramoff's best friend in Congress Represents: OH-18
Election Day: November 8
Days from Now: 10
Thursday, October 27, 2005
New Reform Ohio Now Polling NumbersPosted by Tim Tagaris
There were some new numbers released today by the Ray C. Bliss Institute at Akron University. The Columbus Dispatch is set to release numbers next week as well (along with OH-Sen numbers).
Ray C. Bliss Institute (pdf). 1076 Ohio Residents. MoE +/- 3% - Likely Voters.
State Issue One (Third Frontier)
State Issue Two (Absentee Balloting)
State Issue Three (Campaign Contributions)
State Issue Four (Nonpartisan Redistricting)
State Issue Five (Role of Secretary of State)
The good news on State Issue Four specifically is that citizens who have "reported hearing or reading about the measure and have an opinion favor it by a 56-44 margin. When you consider that this survey was conducted over a one month time frame (ending on October 20), I think it actually bodes very well. The past week has seen newspaper after newpaper, telvision ads, and a massive ground campaign in Ohio to educate voters about the four RON amendments.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Gag ReflexPosted by Tim Tagaris
Here's the lit piece I was talking about earlier -- click on the image to enlarge. You can always combat this ridiculous attack by using it as that last piece of motivation you needed to get involved with Reform Ohio Now
Reforming Ohio Now = Gay MarriagePosted by Tim Tagaris
"Ohio's family values are on the line," and as such, you must "Vote NO on Issues 2, 3, 4, and 5." "Special Interests are attacking our family values!" After all, ""These are the same people who took prayer out of our public schools, fought the defense of marriage act last year, and have attempted to legalize drugs." They are supporting these amendments because, "What radical anti-family activists could not accomplish at the polls, they are trying to accomplish through devious efforts." Ultimately, these devious efforts will, "dilute the power of pro-life supporters to elect pro-life candidates who share our values." We must "Protect our values -- Protect our vote."
That's the new ad campaign created by the opposition to Ohio State Issues 2, 3, 4, and 5 -- better known as the Reform Ohio Now Amendments. The quotes above are not my own, but actual words used on the most recent piece of literature distributed by supporters of the status quo.
For more information, including a picture of the literature piece: click here.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Priorities in OhioPosted by Tim Tagaris
In case anyone was wondering why Ohioans are forced to rely on the third-party organization Reform Ohio Now to bring about electoral change, State Senator Marc Dann tells us a bit about this week's agenda in Columbus:
Bills to do the following will not be moving this coming week:
1. Toughening the Bribery Statute to stop public officials from trading public contracts for private benefits.
2. Placing a mortorium on Private Charter Schools.
3. Allowing the Attorney General to sue Mortgage Lenders.
4. Stopping the revolving door from high government positions to lobbying.
5. Reducing contribution limits for campaigns.
Bills that will be moving:
A bill to keep strippers six feet away from their customers
Reform Ohio Now Tug of War Drawing to a ClosePosted by Tim Tagaris
If all you did was read the blogs, you'd be shocked to know the biggest news in Ohio has nothing to do with Congressman Brown or Major Paul Hackett. In fact, you might not even know that the most important election of 2005 is only two weeks away, and it too is in Ohio. Two Tuesdays from tomorrow, Ohioans will vote on State Issues 2, 3, 4, and 5--better known as the Reform Ohio Now amendments.
There's good news, and bad news.
The bad news is, opponents of reform have the Mo'.
The good news is, that only applies to two of the four amendments.
The bad news is, it applies to the most important of the lot, State Issue Four (redistricting)
The good news is, there is still two weeks left.
Amazingly, quite a few editorial boards have come out in opposition to the amendments. Most of the pieces acknowledge that there is a serious problem in Ohio's electoral politics, but can't get behind them. The Cleveland Plain Dealer opposed 3 of the 4 on Sunday. The Dayton Daily News opposed one of them (and has yet to opine on the rest). And the Akron Beacon Journal came out in favor of the redistricting amendment today, but against State Issue Five, the one that redefines the role of Ohio's Secretary of State.
The big problem with the editorial acknowledgement of existing problems is that without passage, there will be no reform. The current crop of Columbus legislators and lobbyists have it entirely too good right now. They raise money hand-over-first from special interests and wealthy individuals and then go to bat for them on the floor. It took the governor getting convicted of a criminal misdemeanor for campaign finance related activities for people to open their eyes--but still, legislation pushed by Democratic State Representative Jamey Healy and State Senator Marc Dann run into brick walls in the Republican dominated legislature.
The biggest problem in Ohio is one of accountability, something that speaks directly to State Issue Four--the redistricting amendment. In the presidential election, Ohio is basically a 50/50 state. But when it comes to the federal house seats, its a 66/33 state in favor of Republicans. What's worse, not one single representative to congress (regardless of party) faced a competitive challenger in 2004. You can make an argument that Ben Konop put up a good fight, but he ultimately lost pretty big as well. As a commentor on Grow Ohio put it earlier today, "Curious, isn't it, how the very people who talk all the time about the invisible hand of the marketplace and the importance of competition in economic affairs don't seem to believe in competition when it comes to politics. When it comes to politics, Finan and Kevin DeWine and those guys apparently believe in monopolies, not competition." And he's right.
And finally, for those of you who are pure partisans, the passage of State Issue Four could mean up to 6 seats, but probably 2, 3, and maybe 4 for Ohio Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
If you are from Ohio, please get involved by contacting Reform Ohio Now to volunteer. Republicans have pledged to spend over $1 million in each of the final weeks before the elections, and their commercials are already blanketing the airwaves (I saw at least 7 this morning alone on TiVo'd shows). However, they have no ground game to speak of, and little organization at all. And while Reform Ohio Now is finally running television ads statewide as well, there is also a solid ground game afoot in the Buckeye State. Once again, it's going to come down to money vs. legwork, and it will be close. That's why we have to do everything we can in these final two weeks. I have heard the team is also crafting an online component for participation nationwide as well. If and when I hear more about that, you'll be the first to know. Hopefully it is organized and precise, giving many of you something to do other than making a monetary contribution.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
RON: Fighting Like Their Jobs Depend On ItPosted by Tim Tagaris
Because for as many as six congressional Republicans in Ohio, they do. Three and a half weeks to go, and it's time to start the discussion about Reform Ohio Now in earnest. Before I get into today's update, if you are from Ohio, visit the website and volunteer. A bit of big news in the past few days when it comes to State Issue Four, the measure that would create nonpartisan redistricting in Ohio. From The National Journal (subs.)
GOPers "have begun trolling for several hundred thousands dollars" in soft money, "in hopes of defeating" an 11/05 redistricting initiative "that could imperil their political careers." The proposals would appoint an independent commission to redistrict, instead of the state legislature. Senior GOP aide: "I think most every member of the delegation has been involved." Supports and opponents of the proposal "are expect to spend several million dollars" on that and other ballot referendums.
Some lawmakers have "already begun asking" D.C. corporate lobbyists for "as much as" $25K written out Ohio First, which is leading the "anti-reform effort." Rep. Kevin Dewine (R) leads Ohio First, and told the Akron Beacon Journal last week he expects his group to spend "at least a million (dollars) a week." Ohio First hired Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm to produce its ads (Pershing, Roll Call, 10/17).
Stevens, Reed, Curcio, and Potholm are better known to some as the creators of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads ran against John Kerry in 2004. You now know that for the GOP, desperate times call for desperate measures. So far RON has run three different ads, the first two running in targeted cities (Dayton/Toledo) and the third running statewide. This is the first television piece for opponents of reform in Ohio, and to be honest, it is entirely inaccurate and misleading, but a great commercial. You can watch it here. RON's third commercial can be seen here.
In other news, Ahnold came out and endorsed State Issue Four in Ohio, all the way from the Pepsi Co. Governor's mansion in California. Many of you might know that he has a similar redistricting measure up for vote in California's election later this year. And while you might think, "who the hell cares?" you would be wrong. Arnold is actually a champion in Ohio, and I suspect it has a lot to do with the national body building championships that were held in Columbus year after year when he was a competitor. George Bush brought him out here during the 2004 elections to stump for his presidential campaign. If nothing else, the endorsement received a ton of press today locally.
In a recent poll, of the four amendments, only the redisctricting measure trailed, while the other three held leads outside the margin of error. Daily Kos and Swing State Project contributor, Pounder, sent me an email asking me why we haven't seen any internal polling on the amendments, and the fact that it's been asbsent is causing him some consternation...I tend to agree; that's worries me as well. The absentee balloting and campaign contribution provisions are going to pass, and pass by ridiculously huge margins. The two that worry me most are the redistricting (probably the most important of the lot) and the Secretary of State amendments.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Reform Ohio Now: Polls and CommercialsPosted by Tim Tagaris
Things are getting hot and heavy in Ohio with a month to go before voters decide between reform and the untenable status quo. Before I dive in, here's a reminder to visit Reform Ohio Now's website and volunteer, especially if you are in Ohio.
1.) The First Polling Numbers Released
The Columbus Dispatch conducted a poll last week, and the numbers were made public just yesterday:
Issue 2: Vote By Mail
Issue 3: Reducing Campaign Contribution Limits
Issue 4: Nonpartisan Redistricting
Issue 5: Role of the Secretary of State in Ohio
For a detailed explanation of what each amendment actually calls for, the Akron Beacon Journal does the job.
2.) Reform Ohio Now Hits The Airwaves
To open up the first commercial on Issues 2-5, paid for by Reform Ohio Now, click here. Now it's just a question of affording airtime for the spots already up and running in Toledo and Dayton. I can't find the article for some reason, but RON is doing a decent job at fundraising, eclipsing $2 million raised. Unfortunately, a campaign like this will take a substantial amount more to be successful with all four issues. Opponents of reform, the group known as Ohio First, seems to be having a more difficult time galvanizing support for the status quo. However, they don't have to disclose their contributions until a week before election, so we can't really be sure what they are up to finance-wise.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
RON: Big Day For Reform Ohio NowPosted by Tim Tagaris
Reform Ohio Now received the unlikliest of endorsements today. The ultra-conservative Ohio Taxpayers Association came out in support of the three of the four reform issues on Ohio's 2005 ballot. This is no mushy-middle group either; they are the same people who ran radio attack ads on Jean Schmidt the weekend before the special election in OH-2 this year. From the Chairman's blog.
"It is unfortunate that some have made this a Republican versus Democrat issue," continued Pullins. "As a conservative Republican who has worked professionally in the political process for nearly 20 years, I strongly believe that Issues 2, 4, and 5, will benefit all Ohioans."
"I remember the day, not long ago, when Ohio Republicans stood for honesty, integrity, and limited government," continued Pullins. "Today, we have a Governor who has been indicted and convicted of ethical shenanigans, a state party chairman who has benefited from a host of questionable consulting deals, and a group of house leaders who have apparently shaken down big corporations to pay their expenses. At the same time, these officials have supported the growth of out of control state government"
In crafting their argument, the organization undercut two of the Ohio GOP's recurring attacks against reform. The first argument repeated over and over in the mainstream media is the standard Republican fare. Opposition has claimed that the amendments are funded by groups like MoveOn and George Soros, even though they have nothing to do with Issues 2-5. The second was just placed on the Ohio GOP website less than a week ago.
Create complicated, new legislative districts drawn by appointed bureaucrats who do not answer directly to the voters [and] allow those appointed bureaucrats to spend unlimited tax dollars with no direct accountability
That's the GOP's argument against non-partisan redistrcting, arguably the most important of the four measures. For more on Issue Four, Ohio blogger, "Hypothetically Speaking" has the statistics and a compelling argument in favor of the the amendment.
I've said in the past that I am going to write a good deal about the RON amendments. But for the most comprehensive coverage and constant updates, visit Grow Ohio. If you are from Ohio, sign-up.