Voters First will file a new complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission tomorrow over the latest Ohio Republican Party mailer. Proponents of Issue 2 claim that four false statements are contained in the mailer, including one which the Elections Commission already ruled could be false.
The mailer includes the statement, "Some [Citizens' Independent Redistricting Commission] members can be chosen behind closed doors," which is nearly identical to a claim made in previous mailers which the Ohio Elections Commission determined had probable cause to be a violation. Despite this ruling, the Ohio Republican Party has repeated this false claim in subsequent campaign communications.
The complaint also alleges three other false statements: that the Commission could meet in secret, that Commission members cannot be removed, and Commission members could steal the public's money. Voters First has detailed specific provisions within the amendment which clearly prove all of these statements misleading.
"It's outrageous," said Sandy Theis, spokeswoman for Voters First. "The opponents of reform have continually been reprimanded for their deceptive tactics in the Ohio Supreme Court and the Ohio Elections Commission and yet they repeat these lies again and again."
"In a democracy, truth is not trivial," said Gary Leppla, former President of the Ohio State Bar Association. "It is necessary for voters to have complete and accurate information about issues before them. The opponents of Issue 2 hide behind distortion, mischaracterizations, and outright false representations. It is shameless to label this a 'matter of semantics'. Unfortunately even some previously trusted institutions have resorted to hyperbole with the effect of supporting the totally unacceptable redistricting status quo. It is clear that the very political control which Issue 2 is designed to stop is being exerted to prop-up this broken system. The people have the power to finally fix it by voting YES on Issue 2."