Presidential Candidates Back In Ohio, And Debating The Pros And Cons Of Issue 2
Less than two weeks left till election day, and the candidates once again are swinging through Ohio. President Obama will be back next week.Obama and Vice President Joe Biden made a rare joint appearance in Dayton this week, and then Biden campaigned in Canton and in Marion. Republican nominee Mitt Romney was also in Ohio – starting in Cincinnati and then heading to Columbus and then Defiance. And his running mate Paul Ryan will be in Ohio this weekend. The state’s elections chief says 1.6 million residents are using the early voting options in Ohio. Meanwhile, a federal judge has granted a request by a group of voter advocates to expand the conditions under which provisional ballots are counted in Ohio. An outdoor advertising company says it is pulling down voter-fraud billboards in Ohio and in Wisconsin after complaints that they were meant to intimidate voters, and has replaced them with billboards with a different message. The state auditor says he’s finished a second round of an investigation into whether more Ohio schools are altering attendance data, possibly to improve their appearance on state report cards. A bipartisan group of state lawmakers want Ohio to become the 33th state to require insurance coverage for autism, but business leaders are opposed. And this week brought the final US Senate debate between incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican treasurer Josh Mandel.
With all the ads, calls and fliers for the Presidential and US Senate races in Ohio, there’s little room for the two statewide issues that are also before voters. Issue 1 asks whether the state should hold a constitutional convention. Issue 2 is the so-called redistricting amendment, a complicated issue that would take the authority to draw maps for Congressional and Statehouse districts out of the hands of lawmakers and the state apportionment board and gives it to a 12 member commission of citizens who aren’t politicians or lobbyists. Last week I moderated a debate before the Columbus Metropolitan Club to sort through the arguments for and against Issue 2, featuring Catherine Turcer and former Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) on the "vote yes" side, and Jenny Camper and former State Sen. Jeff Jacobson (R-Vandalia) on the "vote no" side.