September 2017  Ohio League Leader Upd ates

1. 2017 Statewide Ballot Issues

2. Judicial Votes Count Reminder

3. Fair Districts Campaign Updates

4. State Legislature News

5. Updates from LWVUS
a. Countdown to Convention 2018: See you in Chicago in 10 months
b. New Film Partnership: "We the Voters"

6. All-Member Conference Call for October

7. It's not too late to give
to LWVO's fall Women's Equality Day fundraiser!

8. Grant Opportunities
a. Women's Voices
b. Voter Participation Forums
c. Online Voter Registration Outreach to College Students

1. 2017 Statewide Ballot Issues
a. Voters' Guide
LWVO has released the voters' guide for the November 2017 statewide ballot issues. The information has been entered into Vote411 and a PDF version of the guide is linked on the LWVO website front page, or access it directly here. A Word version was sent to the local League presidents and voter service chairs on file with the state office for inclusion in local voters' guides; if you have questions or need it re-sent, please contact the office at or (614) 469-1505.
b. Contact information for campaigns
Since a number of local Leagues have inquired about how to reach the campaigns in order to plan issue forums, LWV Ohio generally recommends the following.

For Issue 1, the 'pro' campaign is Marsy's Law for Ohio, who have an online contact form. As of this point, the opposition does not have a campaign organization, but the Ohio State Bar Association and Ohio Association of Prosecuting Attorneys have expressed concerns about the measure, so local chapters of those groups may have ideas of individuals to present a 'con' argument. Additionally, the Ohio Public Defender wrote the official argument against the measure, so that office may know of potential presenters; they can be reached at (614) 466-5394.

For Issue 2, the 'pro' campaign is  Yes on Issue 2, whose email is listed on their website as The 'con' campaign is  Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue, whose email is listed as
c.  LWVO & Women's Fund of Central Ohio co host ballot issue forum
Want to hear more about the statewide ballot issues? Hear from proponents and opponents of Marsy's Law and the Drug Price Relief Act. Plus, we'll take a look at both issues through a gender lens, to see how they are likely to impact women and girls.

You can RSVP at the Eventbrite listing here:  LWVO and the Women's Fund of Central Ohio present Advocacy in Action: Voters Forum on State Issues 1 & 2 Thursday, October 12 from 5:30pm to 7pm at the Women's Fund of Central Ohio, 2323 West 5 th Ave #230, Columbus, OH 43204.

The forum will also be streamed via Facebook live. That link will be posted on the LWV Ohio website closer to the event.

2.  Judicial Votes Count Reminder
Did you know that in 2017, Ohio ballots will include dozens of important municipal judge elections? Unfortunately, while these elections have an important impact on our lives and communities, they too-often get much less attention than other races, and voters report not having enough information about the candidates. That's why LWVO is once again partnering with the Ohio Supreme Court, Bar Association, and others on "Judicial Votes Count" (JVC), a website providing information on candidates for judge across the state and educational information about what judges do and how to evaluate candidates. You can visit online at

Judicial candidates across the state were instructed to complete their questionnaires before September 1 for inclusion in print voters' guides, so there is no need for local Leagues to reach out to them separately. However, questionnaires submitted after that date will still be published to the JVC website, generally within 24 hours of receipt. Local Leagues are welcome to copy and paste candidate information into your local voters' guide, or we can download the information for you if you contact the LWVO office and let us know which races you need.

3. Fair Districts Campaign Updates
The last few weeks have seen lots of interesting advancements.

As you may have seen, leadership in the legislature has announced the formation of a working group on congressional redistricting, tasked with formulating a proposed constitutional amendment to put before voters next year, perhaps as early as the May primary. LWVO and the Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition have always supported a legislative solution to gerrymandering, provided it includes key requirements for real reform. For more information and to send a message to your legislators, see our action alert .

In other news, the Fair Districts campaign has processed more submitted petitions and have updated signature totals. Our more than 142,000 signatures statewide are broken down county-by-county in this interactive map . Keep turning in your books as often as possible (at least every two weeks) so we can continue to update our numbers.

Finally, the fall can be a great time to collect signatures! From fall festivals to football games to Election Day and early voting (where folks are guaranteed to be registered voters), there are lots of opportunities where people will be coming together and you can meet fresh faces to sign your petitions. For more ideas and tips - and a friendly fall-themed Fair Districts competition - see our recent blog post .

Other ways to help and items to remember:
  • Please turn in petition booklets every 1-2 weeks, so we can update our signature totals.
  • If you are driving to and from Columbus, please help us out by collecting petitions from volunteers in your area and drop them off at the LWVO, Common Cause, or Ohio Environmental Council offices.
  • Having a local event to support Fair Districts and collect petition signatures? Please post it on the Fair Districts website ( and on Facebook or Tweet @ohfairdistricts so that others know where to find you.
  • Do you like parties? Contact the LWVO office or Fair Districts if you are interested in hosting a house party to help raise money for the Fair Districts campaign.
4. State Legislature News
The Ohio General Assembly is back in session, so the LWVO advocacy team is back at work monitoring and advocating on legislation. Here are a few bills and issues to keep an eye on in the next few months:

Energy and the environment
Reproductive rights
  • SB 145, also known as the "method ban," to prohibit the abortion procedure that is the most common after twelve weeks' gestation, has been assigned to committee in the House after passing the Senate in June.
  • SB 164 and HB 214, which would ban abortion on the basis of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, appear to be moving, both having had multiple hearings. However, a federal judge recently struck down a similar measure in Indiana.
  • SB 180, commonly known as "stand-your-ground," would eliminate the requirement to retreat before using force in self-defense. Both this bill and HB 228, its companion in the House, have had a committee hearing.
  • HB 142 would eliminate the requirement that a person stopped by law enforcement notify the officer if they are carrying a concealed handgun. It has had six hearings in committee, but has encountered opposition from law enforcement and firearm advocacy groups.
  • HB 201 would establish "permitless carry," allowing all adults 21 or over to carry a concealed firearm unless prohibited by federal law. While its last committee hearing was in July, this is a bill we will be watching along with its Senate companion, SB 142.
Veto overrides
Capital punishment
  • SB 40 and HB 81 , which would ban the death penalty in circumstances where the individual was experiencing serious mental illness, have each had 3 committee hearings. A similar bill has passed the Senate in previous sessions but encountered resistance in the House.
  • SB 94 to abolish the death penalty had its first committee hearing in September.
  • The legislature held a first hearing on bill to provide funding to help counties replace aging voting machines. The bill, SB 135, proposes a split in which the state pays 80% of the cost and the county pays 20% of the cost to replace machines.
  • The legislature is also considering a bill, SB 21, that proposes to reduce the number of poll workers required per precinct. During a committee hearing, questions were also raised about the number of voting machines required per precinct. LWVO is monitoring this closely, as allocation of poll workers and voting machines was a key component of our legal settlement in the LWVO v. Blackwell (later Brunner) case.
5. Updates from LWVUS
a. Countdown to Convention 2018: See you in Chicago in 9 months
Plan to attend! Next summer's  Biennial National Convention will be held June 28 - July 1, 2018 at the Chicago Hilton on Museum Mile. Hotel reservations ($209 + tax per night, single, double or triple) will open later this fall, with delegate registration ($450 fee) starting in February 2018. Your local League's delegate counts will be based on the membership numbers you submit in January 2018. The official First Call to Convention will go out in late October.  Bookmark this page for details as they emerge.

b.    New Film Partnership: "We the Voters"
LWVUS has announced  a new partnership with "We the Voters", a series of nonpartisan educational short films that focus on voting and democracy. All Leagues are welcome to screen the three approved films at League events. "We the Voters" can assist Leagues in planning film screenings and even provide guest speakers or conversation facilitators. Please see the attached for more details about utilizing these films at League functions.

6. All-Member Conference Call for October
Join us for our October all-member conference call on Tuesday, October 3, 12-1 pm
Topics: Membership Growth and How Your League Can Take Advantage of the Current Surge in Political and Civic Engagement
CALL-IN NUMBER: 866-740-1260 
PIN: 4691505# 
The recording of the all-member call will be available in the  LWVO online member area following the call until the end of the month. Please note that the call recording is intended for LWV members and guests (just like the calls) and, therefore, should not be shared with anyone outside the League family. Thank you. 

7. It's not too late to give to LWVO's fall Women's Equality Day fundraiser!
Have you been meaning to send in a donation to LWVO's fall Women's Equality Day fundraiser? Is the envelope sitting on your desk or kitchen table and you keep forgetting to mail it? Well, it's not too late.

While we marked Women's Equality Day in August, we recognize that some communities had to wait years longer to secure the right to vote, and even today equal voting rights are still being threatened by gerrymandered districts where politicians feel more accountable to special interests than to their own voters. Voters also face a steady stream of federal and state actions threatening to undermine voter confidence and discourage voter participation. The League of Women Voters has always stood for Fair Elections that ensure every eligible voter has a voice.

Please support that important work with a generous donation. You can donate online  here  or mail a check to us at League of Women Voters of Ohio, 17 S. High St., Suite 650, Columbus, OH 43215.

8. Reminder: Fall & Winter Pass-thru Grant Opportunities - Apply today!
LWVO is excited to be able to offer a variety of pass-thru grant opportunities to Ohio local Leagues and At-Large Units.

a.  Women's Voices - Thanks to a grant from the Women's Fund of Central Ohio, we are able to continue the Women's Voices: Training the Next Generation of Women Leaders project. In response to feedback from local Leagues, we are adjusting the program to run over the school year instead of the calendar year to accommodate arrangements with local schools and other youth group partnerships.  Click here for the application form.

b. Voter Participation Forums
- Thanks to a grant from the national LWV Public Advocacy for Voter Participation project, we are glad to announce pass-through funds for local Leagues and At-Large Units to hold forums based on the Where Have All The Voters Gone? report on low voter participation from the National Issues Forum Institute. With the election of a new Ohio Secretary of State on the minds of many voters next year, this is a great opportunity to start dialogue and build awareness of issues surrounding voting. 
Click here for the application form.

c.  Online Voter Registration Outreach to College Students
- School is back, and that means college students around the state have new addresses. Help us work with campuses around Ohio to help get their students registered to vote. Please let the state office know if you are interested in participating and if you have relationships with faculty or administration at any local universities, colleges, community colleges, and technical schools. We would like to partner on a joint state & local LWV effort to reach students during the first month or two of the new school year. Sample materials and other support are available from the LWVO office.  Click here for the application form.

The League of Women Voters of Ohio | 17 South High Street | Columbus, Ohio 43215 | 614-469-1505