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The Pepper Pike Civic League Candidates & Issues night is tonight, Tuesday, September 17, at 7pm at Brady Middle School. There are six school board candidates between two races plus three county-wide levies. Lots to learn about – please share this information and attend.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:52 am September 17th, 2013 in Announcements, Elections, Voting | Comments Off 

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There has been warning and there is a very easy way to check and make sure you are not on the list of voters who will have their registration information purged unless you are in fact supposed to be on that list. Please go here, to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections site specifically for this.

I checked to see how many registered voters in Pepper Pike are on that list and it was just under 200 and I actually know two people listed. I am going to call them tomorrow and ask them to please double-check. It’s possible they’re not domiciled here to vote or any other of a number of reasons but whatever the case, please share this information and check yourself.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:17 pm June 15th, 2013 in Elections, Voting | Comments Off 

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Voter turnout – and voting as civic engagement. Is it next to Godliness, or next to slactivism, in terms of what we expect of ourselves and others? Here’s a pdf of May 7, 2013 primary voter information. Look at those absentee ballot numbers. Then look here at total results. What are we doing to ourselves? Go discuss.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:14 am May 9th, 2013 in Civic engagement, Voting | 1 Comment 

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I’ve been writing for a lot of other places – I know. From my post-election night BlogHer column:

What might the United States political world look like in 2016? The predictions began to roll in even before 2012 votes were counted, with Vice President Joe Biden being one of the first to tease about being a candidate — for something — in that year.

My first thought is, just how long is four years anyway? In four years, my second of three children will be starting college and my youngest will be a high school freshman. My own re-election for City Council, should I choose to run again, is next year — and for me, that’s a nine-month birthing event as it is since, with kids, a full-time job, being on Council now and still doing writing and speaking. In case President Obama’s win didn’t demonstrate this axiom enough, planning a campaign out in excrutiating detail is mandatory if you also want to plan on winning.

Only 1458 days left until Election Day 2016! Go read the full post here and get ready!

By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:00 pm November 13th, 2012 in Election 2016, Elections, Politics, Voting | Comments Off 

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Judging Judges

Filed Under Elections, Law, Ohio, Voting | Comments Off

Wow – that is one of those words that if you say it or spell it too many times, it’s not even a word anymore.  Here’s a snippet from my latest Civic Commons blog post – stick til the end at the full post for the twist:

According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, “Thirty-nine states elect at least some of their judges, and the vast majority of cases in the United States are heard by elective courts.” But the experience and results of this year’s judicial races in Ohio’s general election demand that we ask: Is it time for Ohio to join the eleven states that don’t elect judges?

The first question: Why is the selection method even an issue? Let us count the ways in which our current manner – partisan primaries followed by nominally non-partisan general elections – can be attacked:

Yeah, you’ll have to go read the full post for the analysis. And I really wanted to make the title something that played off Al Franken’s Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them but I couldn’t quite figure out the words. Judges and the Judging Voters Who Judge Them? Nah…

By Jill Miller Zimon at 7:37 am November 12th, 2012 in Elections, Law, Ohio, Voting | Comments Off 

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From my latest at the Civic Commons:

I am so radical about voting that I don’t even have a problem with mandatory (also called compulsory) voting. This isn’t new for me and I’m familiar with the arguments about why, in a so-called free society, we wouldn’t mandate voting. But we incentivize so many other activities with rewards and punishments. Why not voting and why not to the extent that we could actually get national voter turnout rates closer to at least 75% (look at this history of voter turnout rates in presidential elections – even 2008 was not even 58%!).

Please not only read it, but GO VOTE. Starting this Tuesday, October 2, you can VOTE. So do it.

And if you haven’t kept up with my work at the Commons, you can catch up here.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 6:44 pm September 30th, 2012 in democracy, Ohio, Voting | 1 Comment 

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You’d think I’d love all the attention Ohio is getting this year because of its swing state and must-win status – I’m a Leo after all.  But there’s really only four things you need to know about the race being voted on today.  Read it here in my post at BlogHer.com.

And don’t forget locally – tons of judicial races and our County Prosecutor.

Here’s the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website where you can see a ballot before you go so you don’t choke up.

NOW GO VOTE!

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:36 am March 6th, 2012 in Campaigning, Elections, Ohio, Voting | Comments Off 

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Read my thoughts on that question in my post, “Why Women Voters Will Dictate Ohio’s Super Tuesday Results,” at iVillage and let them know what you think!

By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:10 pm March 5th, 2012 in Elections, Gender, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republicans, Rick Santorum, Sexism, Social Issues, Voting, WH2012, Women | Comments Off 

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Well, the idea that the perceived and polled gender gap that appeared to favor GOP presidential nominee candidate and former Massachusett’s governor, Mitt Romney, absolutely fizzled and flipped when it came to election day in South Carolina last week.

Yet now, here again, CNN is reporting that their polling shows a gender gap favoring  – wait for it – Romney again:

A gender gap appears to have developed as well. In South Carolina, Gingrich won among men and women, according to exit polls. But in Florida, although Gingrich has an edge among men, Romney had the advantage among women.

“Some of that may be due to recent coverage of Gingrich’s personal life, but it is almost certainly due to other factors as well. Gingrich’s favorable rating has consistently been higher among men than among women for years before he became a presidential candidate, suggesting that men may find his red-meat approach to issues more appealing than women do,” says [CNN Polling Director Keating] Holland.

Many people have anticipated that Florida is not South Carolina, and I share that opinion.  How different is the female electorate in the Sunshine State from the same segment in the Palmetto State?

We won’t know for sure until next Tuesday evening, after they vote.  I have my suspicions but I’m going to keep them to myself until election night.

What do you think?

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:59 pm January 25th, 2012 in Campaigning, Elections, Gender, Mitt Romney, Politics, Voting, WH2012, White House 2012, Women | Comments Off 

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IT’S 5:38PM – HAVE YOU VOTED YET!!?

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Good afternoon on this gorgeous election day! (I love love love election day – always have – remember the machines with the big black and red levers that had to be pulled!?)

THANK YOU
for voting if you’ve already done so, and if you haven’t yet, you can STILL VOTE until 7:30pm (hint hint hint).  It’s not just local candidates on the ballot but statewide issues and the Orange schools levy.  You can find your polling location here and then, please – go vote!

By Jill Miller Zimon at 6:36 pm November 8th, 2011 in Voting | Comments Off 

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NOT BALLOTS, people. Not the ballot itself.  This link takes you only to instructions for how you can APPLY to get a ballot. The Plain Dealer, according to this editorial, Mail-in ballot application opportunities abound, will also be printing, in its newspaper, a ballot application (not an actual ballot) for people to send in as well.

I’ve placed a link to the application in the right-hand sidebar of this blog and it will stay there through the end of the month.  Starting on Tuesday, October 4, the Board of Elections will start sending absentee ballots themselves to those voters who have applied and are eligible to vote.

Please do vote – whether by mail or in-person (Tuesday, November 8).

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:15 am October 1st, 2011 in CuyahogaCounty, democracy, Elections, Ohio, Voting | Comments Off 

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Late last night, after watching some spin room action about the Republican primary debate in California, I started thinking about this question in a way that harkens back to just after Hillary Clinton was no longer in the 2008 race.

It’s not going to be Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin.  Yup, I’m predicting that right now.  Neither will be the general election presidential candidate for the GOP and I’m doubtful that either will be a VP selection of the eventual nominee either.  Might Nikki Haley or Susanna Martinez be the VP choice?  Not sure, just not sure.  But remember, if they are, then we’re going with the “some part of a term in executive office is better than no part of a term in executive office” again, just as was the case with Palin.  And many voters were pretty skeptical about that then.  With Palin eventually quitting that job, it’s hard to ask voters to trust, yet again, that being in something only partially through its expected duration means they’ve succeeded.  I think this is what Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie know very well – fill out at least one term.  There’s no question then about how much stronger a candidate it makes you. Where’s the proof? Well, did you see a single half-term anyone even up on the stage last night? Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:21 am September 8th, 2011 in Elections, Gender, michele bachmann, Politics, Sarah Palin, Voting, WH2012, White House 2012, Women | 4 Comments 

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I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens next summer. I’m interested to learn what process will be used to identify the voters who should receive the applications and the timeline to be deployed to make sure that the vote by mail applications are received by the voters with more than enough time for the 88 counties to mail out the ballots and get them back. What is the agreement regarding who will pay the return postage on the application itself? You get the idea of the questions to be answered.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:   John Kohlstrand: (216) 698-2099 or jkohlstrand@cuyahogacounty.us
                                Nicole Dailey Jones: (216) 263-4602, (216)338-0863 or ndjones@cuyahogacounty.us

OHIO VOTERS WILL BENEFIT FROM AGREEMENT REACHED BETWEEN
ED FITZGERALD AND OHIO  SECRETARY OF STATE

All Ohio voters to receive application to vote by mail in 2012 presidential election

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced today that he has reached an agreement with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and state legislative leaders to have voters in all 88 Ohio counties sent an application to vote by mail next year.

The deal was reached Thursday after a meeting between FitzGerald, Husted, senior staff of both leaders, and Cuyahoga County Councilman Mike Gallagher, a Strongsville Republican. It ends a standoff between the chief executive of Ohio’s largest county and the state’s chief elections officer.

“We went to bat for our constituents here in Cuyahoga County, and we ended up making voting more convenient for millions of Ohioans,” FitzGerald said today. “This is great news for anyone who believes public officials should try to keep voting simple.”

In the agreement:

n  Husted has agreed to have his office send an application to vote by mail to voters in all 88 Ohio counties in advance of next year’s presidential election.

n  In return, FitzGerald will freeze a county plan to send all active voters in Cuyahoga County an application to vote by mail this fall. The mailing will be replaced by an public outreach effort to make sure Cuyahoga County voters understand how to vote early this fall.

FitzGerald said he has spoken with House Speaker William Batchelder and Senate President Tom Niehaus. Both are publicly committing their support.

“This agreement represents one of the largest steps forward in access to the ballot in years,” FitzGerald said. “

# # #

By Jill Miller Zimon at 11:26 am September 2nd, 2011 in Council, CuyahogaCounty, democracy, Elections, Ethics, Executive, Law, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Voting | 1 Comment 

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I don’t get a good feeling from this – but let’s hear from Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald. Very curious to know what his calculation was in agreeing to this, if Ohio SOS Jon Husted’s statement accurately reflects Fitzgerald’s understanding of the agreement. Here it is – I’ve highlighted the pertinent part:

Secretary Of State Husted Statement On Absentee Ballot Applications And Uniformity Of Ohio Elections

9/2/2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 2, 2011

SECRETARY OF STATE HUSTED STATEMENT ON ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS AND UNIFORMITY OF OHIO ELECTIONS

COLUMBUS – The following may be attributed in whole, or in part, to Secretary of State Jon Husted regarding the mailing of unsolicited absentee ballot request forms and maintaining uniformity in how elections are administered in Ohio:

“Yesterday I met with Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Councilman Michael Gallagher to gain a better understanding of our mutual concerns regarding the distribution of unsolicited absentee ballot request forms.

“Through a productive exchange of ideas, we were able to develop a plan and achieve consensus to preserve the uniform standards I have sought statewide.

“Cuyahoga County officials have agreed not to send out unsolicited mailings for the 2011 General Election and the Secretary of State’s office will distribute absentee ballot request forms to voters in all 88 counties for the 2012 Presidential Election – so that each Ohio voter has uniform and equal access to their ballots.

“Leaders in the General Assembly, House Speaker William Batchelder and Senate President Tom Niehaus, have graciously agreed to support this plan and will appropriate the necessary resources from existing and available federal Help America Vote Act funds.

“I am glad we have been able to work out our differences but ultimately it will be the voters who benefit from this agreement. This will help reduce the chance of long lines at the polls during the Presidential Election and voters in smaller counties will have the same conveniences as voters in larger counties.”

-30-

For more information, please contact Matt McClellan at 614-995-2168 or mmcclellan@ohiosecretaryofstate.gov.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:54 am September 2nd, 2011 in Council, CuyahogaCounty, Elections, Ethics, Executive, Government, Law, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Transparency, Voting, WH2012, White House 2012, Whitehouse09 | Comments Off 

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Since I’ve been following the Ohio Secretary of State ban on absentee ballot application mailings by county boards of elections and the response to that ban by Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald and County Council, I feel compelled to highlight Connie Schultz’s column in today’s Plain Dealer, “Voter fraud is just a dark GOP fantasy.”  She makes many good points and arguments.

But also, a forest for the trees image came into view for me I read: since the November 2010 election and the start of the Kasich administration, we keep having these situations where someone says or does something, and then they have to or they decide that they want to undo it.  Whether it’s the new Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel apologizing for campaign tactics after getting elected, or Kasich trying to sell his version of what coming to the table looks like in regard to SB5, or now Ohio SOS Jon Husted admitting that he was thinking out loud when he mentioned that one possible response to Fitzgerald’s plan would be to not process certain absentee ballot applications. From Connie’s column:

Husted told me Tuesday he made a mistake “thinking out loud.”

“I was exploring a list of options, which I should have kept to myself until I figured out what I was doing,” Husted said. “He [FitzGerald] took my comments out of context, and mischaracterized my intentions. What I want is uniformity in all 88 counties.”

I will say that Husted’s words, in conjunction with several acts over time, as Connie also points out, and about which I am aware as well, support the sincerity of his regret.  The coming actions he takes will tell us for sure.

But going back to the Columbus trendline, set by the governor’s shoot from the hip personality: Recall also that even my state senator, Tom Patton, for whom I have a great deal of respect and with whom I’ve had at meaningful communications about important issues, had to account for voting against something he had meant to vote for, simply because he was swept up in the no-ness of it all in the all-GOP state government and voted “no” by “reflex.”

Governing cannot be about making decisions for Ohio by a gut reflex.  Our guts do possess great wisdom when it comes to discerning and deciding about risk.  But the way in which we’re seeing it being used as THE way in which to make decisions will cost us all.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:14 am August 31st, 2011 in democracy, Elections, Government, Ohio, Politics, Transparency, Voting | 1 Comment 

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As prolific a blogger as I’ve been over the years, well-known for tenacity, this issue is one that I’m going to have to keep up with on the sly while taking care of other business.  After a few random thoughts, I’ve provided a few must-read or must-listen links.

1. This is about the voters, as Republican County Council member Mike Gallagher has said.

2. Voting is a constitutional fundamental right.

3. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is not a lawyer, though State Auditor Dave Yost is.

4. Husted’s threat to not process vote by mail applications was petty, mean-spirited and a personal attack on County Executive Ed Fitzgerald’s plans for how to keep our county’s voting system from sinking back into the morass it was under Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.  It shows the gut level at which Jon Husted is viewing this issue, rather than at the independent level of securing all the rights of all the voters to the best of our abilities.  And frankly empathizing with the way in which the large counties’ boards of elections have prioritized spending on making sure that vote by mail is utilized more and more so that the day-of voting problems for voters, as well as the costs and resources, can be reduced.

5. The state auditor’s suggestion that the public spending to be done by the County may in some way be contrary to law and therefore actionable is likewise petty, mean-spirited and a personal attack on the county executive.

6. Has it occurred to these fellas that maybe it’s Husted’s directive that bans county boards of elections from mailing out vote by mail applications that is the unconstitutional step because, despite how many time he uses the word “uniformity,” the reality is that his ban disparately affects voters’ rights which include access.

7. Finally, I will again point out that Husted knows exactly what it means to not abridge voters’ rights and we know he knows this because of his recently announced plans related to military voters.  In other words, Husted, through his actions, has demonstrated an appreciation for the reality that uniformity of process is not the highest priority when it comes to voters rights.  And in the case of military voters, he has decided to provide them with mechanisms that other voters will not get.

Voters in large counties, as law experts cited in today’s Plain Dealer confirm, likewise need mechanisms that other voters may or may not get in order to safeguard their voting rights.

The side on which Husted should be erring is on the side of the voters. This is a ridiculous fight for him to be picking – now or at any time. Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:16 am August 30th, 2011 in Council, CuyahogaCounty, Elections, Executive, Government, Law, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Transparency, Voting | Comments Off 

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Unbelievable. Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald referenced this development during the County Council meeting, about an hour ago.  His question, which I and I’m sure many others share: if the public spending by the BOE has not been contrary to law for the last few elections, how did it all of a sudden become contrary to law now?  Yost calls it an outcome for a “finding for recovery” if they (the auditor’s office) finds that the public spending is contrary to law.

Listen here.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:55 pm August 29th, 2011 in Council, CuyahogaCounty, Elections, Executive, Government, Ohio, Politics, Voting | Comments Off 

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UPDATE: Read County Executive Ed Fitzgerald’s statement on the 10-0 bipartisan passage of the relevant resolution after the jump below.

You can read my live tweets of the meeting at twitter.com/jillmz

The Plain Dealer’s Laura J Johnston also tweeted it at twitter.com/lauraejjohnston

I used @cuyahogacounty a lot, and Laura used #cuyahogacounty – which now that I think of it, I should have probably done too.  I also used @edfitzgeraldce when he was addressing Council.

District 6, Jack Schron (my rep), was not present at the meeting from what I could tell but it was not 100% clear whether he’d been there earlier – I wasn’t watching the whole time, just listening the whole time.

What will the repartees bring? Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 5:44 pm August 29th, 2011 in Cleveland+, Council, CuyahogaCounty, Elections, Executive, Government, Ohio, Politics, Transparency, Voting | 1 Comment 

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If the Ohio Secretary of State, Republican Jon Husted, really wants to make availability of vote by mail applications uniform across the 88 counties, he’s got an awful lot of confiscating to do:

1. Remove that link on the SOS page that lets people download it for themselves. Because let’s talk digital divide – who has access to a computer? To the Internet? Who makes it to a library to download? Very not uniform, SOS Husted.

2. What about people who call for one by smartphone? Not everyone has a smartphone.  Don’t give a vote by mail application to people with smartphones – that would not be uniform.

3. As I wrote yesterday, senior centers and libraries very often offer vote by mail applications. But certainly not every single one in every county.  Better go snatch those applications from our senior citizens’ gathering places and libraries – where eager 18 year olds hanging out after school or those pesky folks without computers might decide to vote! We can’t have that.

4. Veterans halls – don’t you bet they have them there? But not every single one – go get them!

5. Political parties – I know I have heard that local political parties will send out vote by mail applications. Snatch snatch SNATCH those away, now.

6. Again, I mentioned yesterday – political candidates.  Yup, we walk around, door to door, encouraging people to register to vote and give them vote by mail applications. But SOS Husted needs to find a way to keep us from enabling those folks to exercise their right to vote! He has got to make sure not a single, solitary candidate for office is handing out a vote by mail application – because you can bet that not EVERY single solitary candidate for office is handing out a vote by mail application to every single voter in their district – they would only give them to the people they expect to vote for them!! TOTALLY Wouldn’t be uniform. Go get ‘em, Jon.

Of course, I cannot find anything in the Ohio law that specifies who can and who cannot give a vote by mail application to an Ohioan, which would lead me (and anyone grounded on this Earth) to the conclusion that it is not illegal for anyone to actually give someone a vote by mail application.  But the way Husted is trying to restrict voter rights, he wants to say that Cuyahoga County can’t send out vote by mail applications because it isn’t uniform (since not all 88 counties can afford to send out vote by mail applications to all its voters).

There are, obviously, many problems with his logic, but the most disturbing one is this: who ELSE will he then have to force to stop giving out vote by mail applications so that there is uniformity? And then what does that uniformity stand for? Only uniformity of denying access to voting.

This is why, as the ACLU and even the Plain Dealer state, the Ohio Secretary of State should be enforcing uniformity of access by having all counties send vote by mail applications to Ohio’s registered voters. If the state’s largest counties have been paying for it for the last five years, it’s clear that Husted is copping out by calling it an unfunded mandate.  And frankly, when we’re talking voter access, in the state our democracy is in right now, we should absolutely be erring on the side of greater, not lesser voter access.

Ohio Daily Blog has been covering this as well (this morning too). The Cuyahoga County Council will vote today on the County Executive’s plan for getting vote by mail applications to all of the county’s voters. You can read the info on the vote (4pm County Council meeting in their chambers) here.

And note Husted’s threat stated yesterday: Husted said that he is considering ordering the board of elections to not send the actual ballot to voters for whom they have received vote by mail applications that he deems are “illegal” – which applications, exactly, would those be, Jon?  See here for the exact quote.

Hmm – this all sounds an awful lot like obstruction of voters’ rights but hey – uniformity aka disenfranchisement.  It’s the new black.

By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:18 am August 29th, 2011 in Civil Rights, democracy, Elections, Ohio, Politics, Voting | Comments Off 

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You can read the press release from Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald after the jump but you can read an account of his press conference and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s reaction to that press conference here and here.

The best part? Husted calls Fitzgerald a “rogue actor” because Fitzgerald wants to give our voters better service than other counties and send out the absentee ballot applications. From both links:

In response [to Fitzgerald's plan for the county to send out the vote by mail applications], Husted released a statement that said, “Mr. FitzGerald’s accusations are laughable. It is important that voters in all 88 counties be given equal access to a ballot and I will work to uphold that standard, even in the face of rogue actors like Mr. FitzGerald. Let me provide reassurance and be perfectly clear, every legal absentee ballot application received by boards of elections will be processed and a ballot will be sent.”

Yuh huh – and how exactly will Husted define a “legal” absentee ballot application?  Would he really deny voters their requested absentee ballots because they used an application that they received from Cuyahoga County, and not from the BOE?

What’s very interesting about this is that many entities possess absentee ballot applications – including senior centers, libraries and, er, um, candidates for office.  Since not EVERY senior center in Ohio, or EVERY library in Ohio, or EVERY candidate for office in November 2011 will be giving out vote by mail applications, will Husted police each library, senior centers and candidate for office to make SURE that they are not giving out applications for vote by mail ballots?

How unbelievably absurd is this interpretation of “equal access” and yet exactly what he’s saying as he twists that phrase to disenfranchise large counties from being able to serve Ohio’s electorate.

UGH.

From Fitgerald’s office this afternoon: Read more

By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:20 pm August 28th, 2011 in Cleveland+, Council, CuyahogaCounty, democracy, Elections, Executive, Government, Ohio, Politics, Transparency, Voting | 1 Comment 

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