Unsigned Advocacy

If voters want to see the certified ballot language of state issues 2-5, they can simply visit the Ohio Secretary of State's web site. In advance of the November 8th election, voters can read the proposals as they will appear on the ballot so that they can know what to expect in the polling place or do some further research before it is time to vote.

Beyond the ballot language of the proposed amendments, however, these facsimiles also contain advocacy positions, both "for" and "against." This advocacy language is standard procedure on such issues and will be featured prominently in polling places and voting guides sent out by the state. The idea is to further educate voters about why changes are proposed and why they might not be supported by all Ohioans. But while inclusion of the two perspectives on the issues is without controversy, one part of the advocacy portion on issues 2-5 has raised some eyebrows: the "against" position is unsigned.

The Akron Beacon-Journal reports that the "against" positions were authored by numerous people including State Senator Jeff Jacobson, State Representative Kevin DeWine and former State Senate President Richard Finan, the man who is currently heading Ohio First, the leading opponent of the four initiatives.

A spokesman for Secretary Blackwell said that there is no legal requirement that the authors affix their names to the language but that this is the first time since Blackwell became Secretary of State in 1999 that such arguments have been submitted anonymously. The Secretary's office is not allowed to change in any way the language as long as it does not exceed 300 words; this includes the addition of any names.

The "for" arguments are signed by Herb Asher and Rob Alexander, co-chairs of Reform Ohio Now.