July 17, 2023: This week’s editorials from Ohio newspapers


By The Associated Press undefined

Sandusky Register. July 13, 2023.

Editorial: Rethinking choices

Six years is a long time to be missing your mother, especially if you’re just a teenager or a pre-teen. For Amanda Dean’s three young sons, it’s a defining time in their lives. For them, the Huron County sheriff has said their mother doesn’t want to see them — ever. That’s the message he conveyed back then and again late last year.

Amanda Dean is alive, Huron County Sheriff Todd Corbin said six years ago when Amanda’s mother and sister first reported her missing. He found her “safe,” the sheriff said, relying on information he received from a domestic violence shelter, information it appears he didn’t fully document or keep records about in the missing persons report filed six years ago this month.

The explanation from Corbin challenges common sense and logic: that a loving mother would shun her children for all these years, that she would shun all her family members, this way, for all these years.

Corbin, it seems, was forced to reopen the missing persons investigation and the search for Amanda Dean late last year after news stories about her disappearance were published in the Register and the Reflector. When the Cleveland Center for Missing Children and Adults agreed to help the family and the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation also agreed to help, the sheriff had little choice.

But, seven months later, there’s no indication that a hard effort was ever underway. In the initial weeks and months, the sheriff and bureau met once with the family and didn’t follow up, didn’t even gather up the information they’ve collected in all those years in their own private desperate search for Amanda.

Readers with information who called a state tipline said they left messages but never got return calls. One source said the bureau asked Huron County prosecutor James Sitterly to seek search warrants, but Sitterly declined. The prosecutor and the state agent both refused to answer questions about that or any questions as if they worked for some secret organization or a private person and weren’t answerable to the public as public officials.

But Corbin, Sitterly and the Ohio attorney general all are public officials, and they are answerable to the public. They also are — or should be — answerable to the family of Amanda Dean and to her three young sons. This cruel wall of silence is there for some reason we don’t understand.

We also don’t understand why it took 5½ years before Corbin agreed to open an investigation, and we fear it was just lip service, and really, nothing has changed. Given the circumstances and their behavior, it’s difficult not to question if there’s been any real effort to find Amanda, especially because there’s nothing that suggests that’s the case.

When the case was reopened, a local advocate created the catchphrase, “Amanda Matters,” used on yard signs and in social media posts. The fact it’s even questioned whether Amanda “matters” is a bruise to local authorities who failed to act with empathy and doggedness on this case.

Public officials who cannot address legitimate questions of public concern should rethink their choices. They should step up.


Elyria Chronicle. July 13, 2023.

Editorial: Shame is the wrong way to turn out voters

Shame can be a powerful motivator.

The political operatives working for One Person One Vote, one of the groups devoted to defeating Issue 1, know this. In fact, a mailer they sent out last week demonstrated that they plan to use shame to juice voter turnout in the upcoming “critical special election” scheduled Aug. 8.

The mailer is right that the election is critical. Voters will decide whether to pass a GOP-backed proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution. If passed, Issue 1 would make it harder for future amendments to get on the ballot and raise the threshold for passage from a simple majority to 60 percent.

August special elections have notoriously low turnout, which is why the Republican-dominated General Assembly passed a bill late last year all but eliminating them. Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, signed it into law.

Just a few months later, most Republican state lawmakers shamefully voted to hold a special election this August. Why? Because they want to pass their amendment before November when another proposed amendment, which would protect reproductive freedom, including abortion access, is expected to appear on the ballot.

Turnout will no doubt be key in August. Whoever can motivate those they believe will side with them will likely win. This at a time when most voters aren’t used to heading to the polls and often aren’t paying attention to politics.

Which explains, but doesn’t excuse, the fine print on One Person One Vote’s mailer, which read:

“Whom you vote for is private, but whether you vote is a matter of public record. We will be reviewing public records after the election to determine whether or not you joined your neighbors in voting.”

What they intend to do with that information after their review isn’t stated, but it certainly has an ominous implication.

Nor did One Person One Vote’s spokesman, Dennis Willard, elaborate when The Plain Dealer asked him about the mailer last week.

“We aren’t going comment on the details of our paid communications, but what the mailer says is true: Whom you vote for is private, but whether or not you vote is public information that anyone can see — including Frank LaRose and the special interests who put this special election on August 8, in an attempt to decrease voter turnout as much as possible,” Willard told the paper.

LaRose, Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, has been among the prominent Republicans backing Issue 1. What he would do with knowledge of whether someone voted or not also wasn’t explained.

Not that the hands of Issue 1’s backers are entirely clean. They are counting on low turnout to help them win. Worse, many of them denied that preventing adoption of future amendments protecting abortion rights and eliminating gerrymandering had anything to with Issue 1. (Others did admit that was the reason.)

They’ve also been claiming that making the Ohio Constitution harder to amend is necessary to protect it from out-of-state special interests. They remain conveniently silent on the conservative billionaire from Illinois who is helping bankroll one of the pro-Issue 1 groups.

In any event, social-pressure campaigns can be effective, as The Plain Dealer story noted.

The tactic has been around for years, which bolsters the argument that shaming voters to the polls works.

For example, during the final days of the 2012 presidential election, the Virginia-based conservative group Americans for Limited Government sent registered voters in Lorain County what it dubbed a “vote history audit.”

It listed not only the recipients’ address and whether the people living there had voted in 2004 and 2008, but the same information for their neighbors.

Americans for Limited Government also promised to follow up after reviewing the records of who voted in 2012.

“We will then send an updated vote history audit to you and your neighbors with the result,” the mailer said.

None of the vote-shaming tactics is illegal, but they are unseemly, carrying as they do an implicit threat to do … something.

We have made no secret of our opposition to Issue 1, which we believe is an anti-democratic proposed amendment designed to prevent voters from doing things Republicans don’t like.

Nevertheless, the way to win is by making a compelling argument and motivating voters to protect their interests by voting no.

Trying to shame voters into voting is, well, shameful.


Youngstown Vindicator. July 14, 2023.

Editorial: New Ohio law right on mark; cash still king

Bravo to Ohio Sen. Sandra O’Brien, R-Lenox, who pushed for common sense language requiring that all Ohio public and private schools accept cash payments for tickets to school events and concession stand purchases.

Thanks in large part to her efforts, accepting these cash payments at Ohio school events is now law. It was included among the many provisions in House Bill 33, Ohio’s operating budget bill.

O’Brien, who represents Trumbull County and other surrounding areas of northeast Ohio, recalled to us an incident in which she was waiting in line behind a couple attempting to purchase tickets for entrance into a high school football game where their grandson was playing.

The couple, with cash in hand at the gate, was informed that tickets to the event could be purchased only with a credit card via an online cellphone app. The couple was not equipped to use the app and, sadly, ended up missing the game and heading home.

Undoubtedly, this type of incident plays out with increasing frequency all over Ohio these days. In fact, the Ohio High School Athletic Association, which governs and collects payments for all playoff athletics in the state, forbids school districts from accepting any type of payment that is not done through the online app. Beginning with this fall’s athletic season, this no longer will be permitted.

“Cash is official, legal tender. Cash should be king. I know many grandparents who have been turned away from football games because cash was no longer accepted,” Sen. O’Brien said. “This change will let them watch their grandchildren play even if they only have cash.”

We are extremely pleased to see this common sense decision by O’Brien and the Ohio Legislature in approving the measure.

Indeed, cash is king! Legal tender always should be accepted for purchases — not just at school events, but everywhere in Ohio and in America.


Toledo Blade. July 14, 2023.

Editorial: Admitting Ohio decline

A rare outbreak of candor occurred in Toledo Tuesday.

Ohio Development Director Lydia Mihalik came to town for a roundtable on tourism and work force (“Community leaders look to the arts to bolster Toledo economy,” Tuesday) to sell the state rebrand as “The Heart of it All,” only to admit decline is inevitable unless Ohio can attract new residents.

It’s unusual for an Ohio economic development official to acknowledge anything without high gloss “aren’t we great” boosterism, so Ms. Mihalik’s injection of urgency to the population problem was more than welcome.

Even more on target was the local leadership response to economic goodies Ms. Mihalik dropped on Toledo arts and entertainment enterprises.

The Toledo Museum of Art has a budget that surpasses both Columbus and Cincinnati museums, but it received just a quarter of the state support enjoyed by those two cities.

Overall, Toledo arts organizations support from Ohio’s $50 million grant program was less than half the amount given to Dayton.

Director Mihalik got an earful from local leaders who’ve had a bellyful over Toledo’s consistent lack of support from state government.

As Lucas County Commissioner Lisa Sobecki told Ms. Mihalik, “Toledo, Lucas County, does get shortchanged, time and time again.”

It’s not just art, and it’s not just Toledo. Ohio has chopped the Local Government Fund that distributed fairly for decades by two-thirds and turned to special grants flowing mostly to Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland instead.

The state population decline Ms. Mihalik decries hasn’t been noticed at the Statehouse, perhaps because both Columbus and Cincinnati have grown, and the Cleveland media hasn’t made state support an issue because they’re getting more than their share. But indifference to financial support for the rest of Ohio has produced a long slow decline caused at the Capitol.

Reversing the population decline in Lucas County will take more than a mere ad campaign. Statewide support from the capital that is fairly distributed, rather than disproportionately doled out to the three C’s, would help in local efforts to attract new population.


Columbus Dispatch. July 10, 2023.

Editorial: ‘Power-hungry hypocrites’ trying to con Ohio. Issue 1 about dominance, deceit

If fairness lived in the hearts of some of Ohio’s elected officials instead of deceit, voters would not be headed to vote early for the August 8 special election.

But the deception and the fear coursing through their veins is headed right for Ohio, the recently re-declared ‘Heart of it All.”

Issue 1 is one of the most significant questions Ohio voters will be asked in generations.

For 111 years, Ohioans have been able to seek votes from fellow voters when they believe “an issue is not addressed properly (or at all) in the Ohio Constitution.”

Sixty percent of voter approval would be required instead of a simple majority of 50% plus one if Issue 1 — a statehouse con tied with pretty ribbon — is successful.

Those seeking to get amendments on the ballot would have the virtually insurmountable task of collecting signatures from at least 5% of voters from the last gubernatorial election in all 88 counties. Currently they have to go to 44 counties.

An attempt to catch you sleeping

It is shameful that the $20 million, single-issue August election is taking place.

The Republican legislators who put Issue 1 on the ballot know all too well that August elections are wasteful and hit voters while they are not paying attention during the dog days of summer, so turnout is low.

Just months ago, these power-hungry hypocrites voted to limit most August special elections for those very reasons. They were right then, they are wrong now.

Ohio voters will be asked to annihilate the simple principle of “one person, one vote” and replace it with minority control when it comes to citizen-led constitutional amendments.

Forty percent of voters will call the shots for the majority. How is that fair?

A “yes” vote on Issue 1 would be a blow against one of the best-known notions Abraham Lincoln expressed in the Gettysburg Address: the government should be of the people and for the people.

Ohio’s elected officials have sadly already proven that they want to be above the people and not of the people.

Recent divisive proposed and approved legislation on issues ranging from whom can use which bathrooms to barring facts from college discussions shows they do not care about “the people’s will” if the people’s will differs from their own.

Both sides of their mouths

If those in support of Issue 1 truly believed this was good for democracy and Ohio, they would have the vote in November when Ohioans expect to vote.

Moreover, they would not be speaking out of both sides of their mouths about the reason the changes to our constitution are “needed.”

Proponents have said publicly that it is about good government. They tell the truth when they think only some Ohioans are paying attention.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose for instance penned two guest columns published by the Dispatch in which he claimed the amendment was about protecting Ohio’s constitution from outside special interest groups and from corrupt players like former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder.

LaRose admitted recently that it is about keeping voters from deciding if abortion access should be enshrined in Ohio’s constitution this November.

“Some people say this is all about abortion,” LaRose said during a Lincoln Day dinner in northwest Ohio. “Well, you know what, I’m pro-life. I think many of you are as well. This is 100% about keeping a radical pro-abortion amendment out of our constitution. The left wants to jam it in there this coming November.”

More than 700,000 signatures were filed Wednesday to put an abortion amendment on the November ballot.

State Rep. Brian Stewart — one of the issue’s chief architects with LaRose — and others have made it abundantly clear that another goal is blocking efforts to create fairer statehouse and congressional voting districts.

Silencing Ohioans

Despite what LaRose says, Issue 1 is not 100% about abortion or redistricting for that matter.

It would most likely mean certain defeat for a list of potential citizen-led constitutional amendments not limited to gun control, workers’ rights, increased minimum wage and term limits.

Citizen-led constitutional amendments may be the only way for those issues to come before voters here. Ohio’s gerrymandered General Assembly has proven it can’t be trusted to execute the will of the people no matter how hard the people petition lawmakers.

One of the most egregious examples of ignoring voters’ will came when the Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission chose dominance over delivering the fair voting districts 71% of Ohioans said they wanted during a 2015 anti-gerrymandering initiative.

Without citizen-led constitutional amendments there will be few things voters can do to enact change when lawmakers refuse to listen.

In fact, voter-initiated constitutional amendments were added at the 1912 Ohio Constitutional Convention because lawmakers did not listen to the demands of the people.

This election is special in ways that go beyond the date ballots will be counted. It speaks to Ohio’s heart and whether or not undemocratic forces will be successful in corrupting it with very big lies.

Ohioans deserve “a government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

1. Voters should have a real shot at deciding whether or not abortion and other issues are enshrined in the state’s constitution.

2. Voters should not be asked to surrender their ballot right because elected officials are afraid of not getting their own way.

3. Voters surely should not be asked such an important question during the dog days of summer.

We should not be here as a state, but the August 8 special election will happen, nevertheless.

Lawmakers do not think you are paying attention, that your vote should count or that you will exercise your long-fought right to vote.

Prove them wrong by voting “no” on Issue 1.

Voting information

Monday, July 10, was the voter registration deadline for the August 8 election. Visit www.ohiosos.gov or call your county board of elections to register to vote, check to see if you are registered or change your registration information.

Polls will open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on election day, August 8.

Early in-person voting hours for the August 8 special election:

Visit www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/toolkit/early-voting/ for voting locations in your county.

July 11 to 14 — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

July 17 to 21 — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

July 24 to 28 — 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

July 31 — 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

August 1 — 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

August 2-4 — 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

August 5 — 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

August 6 — 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

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