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Husted wants new voting machines in every county in Ohio

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 1:23 PM

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is calling for state legislators to spend $118 million replacing voting machines in Ohio’s 88 counties. Here early voters cast their ballots on electronic voting machines at the Montgomery County Board of Elections in 2016 . LYNN HULSEY/staff writer
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is calling for state legislators to spend $118 million replacing voting machines in Ohio’s 88 counties. Here early voters cast their ballots on electronic voting machines at the Montgomery County Board of Elections in 2016 . LYNN HULSEY/staff writer

The state should pay $118 million to upgrade voting machines in all 88 Ohio counties, covering 100 percent of the cost for those willing to use paper ballots and optical scan technology, according to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

“The last time Ohio replaced its voting machines, the iPhone hadn’t been released, people still rented movies from Blockbuster, and social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat didn’t exist,” Husted said in a Thursday news release. “It’s time to make updating our voting equipment a priority.”

Most of Ohio’s voting machines were purchased in 2005 and 2006 and were paid for almost entirely with federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) money. Husted and others doubt the current Congress will allocate money to pay for replacing the equipment.

RELATED: How does the voting process work in Ohio

“It’s time for the state’s leaders to step forward and approve a funding plan to replace Ohio’s aging voting technology,” Husted said in a Dec. 14 letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich and legislative leaders.

Husted wants to see the equipment purchased in 2018 so that there can be a test run in 2019 before the presidential election of 2020.

RELATED: Ohio will not give private voter data to Trump 2016 election commission

Husted’s term ends at the end of 2018 and he is running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in 2018.

State Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson, and State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, are running in the 2018 election for secretary of state.

Earlier this year LaRose introduced a bill that would have had the state pay 80 percent of the cost of the machines and have local governments pay for the rest of the cost. That bill is pending.

“Our members have been discussing the issue for some time, including the potential for some funding for voting machines to come from the capital budget process,” said John Fortney, spokesman for the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus.

Husted’s plan would have the state pick up all of the cost unless counties want something more expensive than than optical scan machines with paper ballots. The Ohio Department of Administrative Services has estimated it would cost $118 million to buy that type of equipment for all counties.

RELATED: Jon Husted: Replacing Ohio’s voting machines will be costly

Currently about half the counties use optical scan equipment, including Clark, Champaign, Warren and Preble counties. The other half use electronic touch screen equipment with memory cards and a paper record of votes. Locally, Montgomery, Greene, Butler, Miami and Darke counties use electronic touch screen machines.

Under Husted’s plan the counties would pay the difference if new touch screen machines cost more than optical scan.

Steve Harsman, deputy director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections, said the cost of electronic touch screen machines is expected to be about $200 million if all 88 counties purchased them.

Harsman and County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman both sit on a state task force looking at the voting machine issue.

“We are in full support of the need to replace our aging voting equipment. We are hopeful the state legislature will include in the capital bill funding to help counties financially with the replacement cost,” Harsman said.

RELATED: In 2014, group said U.S. voting machines needed to be replaced

He estimates it would cost Montgomery County $8 million to buy new electronic touch screen machines, which Harsman said offer advantages over optical scan equipment.

“So, depending on how much the state provides, the county would have to provide the difference,” Harsman said. “We have been saving from our budget each year for several years. We have approximately $1.2 million in our capital fund and hope to reach 2 million by the time we implement to help offset the financial burden on the county.”

On Thursday Clyde called for the state to mandate a secure paper-ballot system.

“Aging equipment that stores ballots electronically on memory cards must be replaced with systems that use full auditable, vote-marked paper ballots, Cylde said in a news release. “We must modernize to meet the cyber security challenges that are upon us.”

Montgomery County elections officials have said they are very confident in how well protected their electronic voting machines and memory cards are.

RELATED: What six experts say about election rigging

The issue of voting system and voting machine hacking was huge in 2016 after hackers, believed to be from Russia, attempted to gain access to voting systems in multiple states. Voting systems, which include online voter registration lists and final election results are online. Voting machines are not. In fact, federal law prohibits voting machines and the tabulation equipment used to count paper ballots and electronic voting machine memory cards from ever being connected to the internet.

RELATED: Hacking the ballot: How safe is your vote this November?

In Ohio the voting equipment, ballots and memory cards are kept under lock and key at county boards of elections and can only be accessed by a pair of staff members — one a Democrat and the other a Republican.

When results are tablulated on election night they are put on a thumb drive, provided by the secretary of state, that is then put into a dedicated computer to transmit the results to the state. That thumb drive is used just once to avoid contamination by any online bugs.

Backups of all results are kept by all the counties and the paper ballots and the electronic machines paper records are kept for a period of time until results have been verified and certified.

Other stories by Lynn Hulsey

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Abortion, guns, taxes focus in local state House debate

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 4:37 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 4:37 PM

Candidates for the Ohio House District 42 seat.
Candidates for the Ohio House District 42 seat.

Abortion rights was the issue that most clearly delineated the difference between Democratic and Republican candidates during Monday’s debate among four of five candidates vying for the Ohio House 42nd district in southern Montgomery County.

The debate was sponsored by the Dayton Daily News, WHIO Radio and TV and the Dayton Area League of Women Voters.

State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, Miamisburg Vice Mayor Sarah M. Clark and Marcus Rech, all Miamisburg Republicans, said they opposed abortion.

Antani said he has had a 100 percent “pro-life” voting record, and Clark said she would as well if she is elected.

“I believe that the life of the unborn is just as precious as those of us who are already born and walking around,” Clark said.

Rech also said he is “pro-life” and supports further restrictions on abortion, including the Heartbeat Bill, but also said that there may be cases involving the life of the mother when a “tragic decision” must be made.

The Republican-dominated state legislature has considered or approved multiple new restrictions on abortion rights, and the state has used regulations to shut down clinics which perform abortions.

RELATED: Ohio Supreme Court rules against abortion clinics; What’s local impact?

Zach Dickerson, a Democrat from Miamisburg, told the audience of about 100 people at Miamisburg High School that “everybody in this room is pro-life. There’s nobody that’s pro-abortion.”

But Dickerson said the right to decide on abortion, which is legal in the United States, is between a woman and her doctor.

“I’m a small government Democrat and I do not want the government coming between you and your doctor,” Dickerson said. “I really honestly believe that a woman should have the right to make her own health decisions.”

RELATED: May Election: South suburban statehouse race one to watch

The 42nd District state House race is shaping up as one of the ones to watch on May 8. Candidates are running TV and radio ads and residents of the district are being flooded with mailers.

The district includes Moraine, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Germantown and part of Centerville, and Washington, Miami and German townships.

Minimum wage, taxes

At the debate, the candidates also disagreed on the subject of minimum wage, but those differences crossed party lines.

Both Antani and Clark said they oppose having a minimum wage, while Rech and Dickerson support it.

Federal law sets minimum wage at $7.25 per hour, an amount that hasn’t changed since 2009. But in Ohio the minimum wage is higher — $8.30 per hour — because voters approved a 2006 Constitutional amendment that requires it increase with inflation.

RELATED: Minimum wage earners in Ohio get a 2018 pay raise

Antani and Clark argue that businesses should be allowed people to pay what the market will bear.

“By having a government-mandated minimum wage in some industries you are actually depressing the wages because you are allowing that employer to pay that employee that minimum wage instead of what industry, what the market, would then allow, which would be a larger wage,” Antani said.

Dickerson disagreed, saying that “a minimum wage does not mean that somebody can’t pay you more. It sets the floor, not the ceiling.”

“I think a $15 minimum wage is a good thing so that you don’t have to live in poverty,” Dickerson said.

Rech also supports keeping a minimum wage in place.

“We need some sort of standard of living for people,” Rech said. “There are too many pushes for cheap labor.”

On the subject of taxes, Antani touted $1 billion in tax cuts by the state legislature over the more than 3 years he has been in the Statehouse and said the state surplus made that possible. But Clark said some of that surplus came at the expense of local communities, who had to cut services after local government funds were cut by the state.

“Who doesn’t like tax cuts? (But) we went a little overboard,” Dickerson said, advocating for a review of tax cuts to see if they have helped or hurt the state..

He also said the state wasted huge amounts of money that should have gone to public schools by giving it to Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), the online charter school that closed earlier this year amid allegations that its accounting of enrollment allowed it to improperly obtain $60 million in state funding Ohio is now trying to claw back.

RELATED: ECOT, Ohio’s largest online charter school, officially closes

Gun safety

Guns in schools also came up, with all three Republicans saying school districts should get to decide whether teachers are armed, while Dickerson said arming teachers is a dangerous path and could lead to accidents. Earlier this year Antani was criticized for advocating that 18-year-olds be allowed to carry long guns to school. He has since refused to comment further on that but Rech bought it up during the debate saying, “I do not believe that students should be armed in any capacity.”

A second Democrat on the May 8 ballot, Autumn Kern of Miamisburg, did not attend the debate.

COVERING ALL SIDES

We reached out to the candidates in the local area who are on the May 8 ballot. Learn more about them and the issues in our interactive voters guide at vote.daytondailynews.com

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Guns, minimum wage top issues in Democratic governor primary

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 10:05 AM
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 10:12 AM

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. The Financial Stability Oversight Council's effort to enhance its transparency is
Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. The Financial Stability Oversight Council's effort to enhance its transparency is "important," Securities and Exchange (SEC) Commissioner Mary Jo White said at the hearing. Photographer: Drew Angerer/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Richard Cordray(Drew Angerer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Four years ago, Ohio Democrats pushed hard for a gubernatorial candidate who looked good on paper and found one: Ed FitzGerald.

The campaign was soon run aground by scandal — including news reports that he had been questioned by police after they found him in a parked car in the early morning hours with a woman who was not his wife — and the Democrats lost a landslide election to Republican Gov. John Kasich.

This time around voters have half a dozen Democrats on the May 8 primary ballot and the Ohio Democratic Party is officially neutral.

VOTERS GUIDE: Compare the Democratic candidates on the issues

Only four of the six appear to be serious contenders, and most observers see it as a two-person race between Richard Cordray, who has been on the statewide ballot five times; and Dennis Kucinich, a former Congressman turned FoxNews commentator.

VOTERS GUIDE: Compare the Republican candidates on the issues

In many ways Cordray and Kucinich are polar opposites. Cordray is known for his professorial style while Kucinich has a reputation for fiery rhetoric.

The sleeper candidate could be state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, an attorney and a former boxing champ who is currently sponsoring gun control bills in the Ohio Senate. But Schiavoni is barely known outside his Youngstown area district, and he’s running out of time to boost his name recognition before the May primary.

Also running is former Ohio Supreme Court justice Bill O’Neill, who is still trying to live down his November 2017 Facebook post when he boasted of sleeping with 50 beautiful women and brushed off the seriousness of the #MeToo movement. He has admitted he made a mistake.

The other two candidates on the ballot — Paul Ray of Alliance and Larry Ealy of Dayton — don’t appear to be actively campaigning.

The field doesn’t include a single woman. The three women who originally filed to run — Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and former Ohio Rep. Connie Pillich — all dropped out and are supporting Cordray. Sutton is Cordray’s running mate.

Although no single issue has dominated the campaign so far, Cordray and Kucinich appear furthest apart on the issue of guns, with Kucinich calling for far stricter limits on gunownership and touting his F rating from the National Rifle Association.

Early voting in the primary is already underway. To ensure that voters have the background they need on each of the candidates, we profiled the Republican candidates last Sunday and are doing the Democrats today. The winner in November will replace Gov. John Kasich, who is term-limited.

Related: O’Neill’s boasts bring calls for his resignation

Richard Cordray

Cordray, 58, is a familiar name to Ohioans, having won his first election — for a seat in the Ohio House — in 1990. He won statewide elections for Ohio treasurer and Ohio attorney general before losing to Mike DeWine in the 2010 AG’s race. Cordray was then selected to head the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a post he left nine months early so he could run for governor.

Former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray answers a question during The Journal-News and WLWT-TV sponsored Ohio Democratic Party sanctioned debate for governor candidates hosted by Miami University Regionals Tuesday, April 10 at Finkelman Auditorium on the campus of Miami University Middletown. Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill, Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni and former congressman Dennis Kucinich were also in attendance. NICK GRAHAM/JOURNAL-NEWS(Nick Graham)

“(My running mate) Betty Sutton and I are focused on the kitchen table issues that affect families and are top of mind for them: how they’re struggling to secure their futures, access to affordable health care, better education and training, getting access to more and better jobs, and we have a track record that shows we can make a difference on those issues,” Cordray said. “We can get things done.”

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COVERING ALL SIDES

We reached out to the candidates in the local area who are on the May 8 ballot. Learn more about them and the issues in our interactive voters guide at vote.daytondailynews.com

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Cordray says he doesn’t see a need for tax increases but wants to re-prioritize where the state spends money — less for failing charter schools and more for local government to deal with issues such as the opioid crisis, he said.To combat the crisis, Cordray supports education and prevention, a drug take-back strategy, efforts to get illicit drugs off the streets and adding treatment and recovery programs.

Cordray said he wants to continue Kasich’s reforms, such as clamping down on over-prescribing of painkillers, and continuing Medicaid expansion, which extended health care coverage to 725,000 low-income Ohioans, many of whom suffer from mental health and addiction issues.

“Medicaid expansion is going to be key,” he said. “If we don’t keep Medicaid expansion, we’re going to have an even worse problem.”

He pledged to enforce the 10-year-old federal mental health parity law, which requires insurance plans to cover mental and drug abuse issues on par with physical ailments.

Related: State’s record enforcing insurance mandate is questioned

Cordray opposes efforts to make Ohio a right-to-work state where union contracts cannot mandate membership as a condition of employment and he supports boosting the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over time — a move that he says may require a statewide ballot vote.

When it comes to gun control, Cordray favors universal background checks and banning high-capacity magazines and bump stocks but he stops short of calling for an assault weapons ban or measures to remove guns from those who appear at risk of harming themselves or others.

“You know that I have always respected people’s 2nd Amendment rights and I’ve defended those rights in court,” he said. As attorney general, Cordray defended a state law that blocks local governments from adopting gun restrictions.

Cordray said he supports cracking down on abusive payday lending practices. “They’re high everywhere but it’s almost 600 percent (APR) in Ohio. Nobody can think that’s a responsible way to lend money to people or that it’s going to help them succeed in their lives,” he said.

Related: Payday lending bill comes to life as House speaker faces probe

Dennis Kucinich

Kucinich, 71, is the oldest candidate in the field, having started his political career in 1970 on the Cleveland City Council, and bills himself as the most progressive.

“I’m the real Democrat in this race. I’m a true-blue Democrat,” he said. “I think people want a governor who drives real change, positive change and not just be into incrementalism. Our campaign has been dynamic, energetic, passionate, forward looking, visionary — showing Ohioans what kind of state they could have. They could have education for all and health care for all and jobs for all and safe communities and where women’s rights are protected in an uncompromising way.”

Former congressman Dennis Kucinich answers a question during The Journal-News and WLWT-TV sponsored Ohio Democratic Party sanctioned debate for governor candidates hosted by Miami University Regionals Tuesday, April 10 at Finkelman Auditorium on the campus of Miami University Middletown. Former Ohio attorney General Richard Cordray, Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill were also in attendance. NICK GRAHAM/JOURNAL-NEWS(Nick Graham)

Kucinich pledges to veto bills the erode access to abortion, oppose right-to-work efforts and block executions on his watch. He also promises to issue executive orders in his first week on the job to mandate a $15 an hour minimum wage for all state employees and state contractors and to use the bully pulpit to push for it statewide.

When it comes to tax policies, Kucinich said he wants to eliminate the new provision that allows Limited Liability Companies, or LLCs, to pay no state income taxes on the first $250,000 in earnings. He said he supports a bond issue to raise money for infrastructure projects, such as rebuilding roads and bridges.

He’s made gun control a big part of his campaign, and favors banning assault weapons, bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and expanding background checks, school safety measures and safe storage of guns from children.

Related: Where do candidates for Ohio governor stand on gun issues?

When asked about Medicaid expansion, Kucinich said he favors a state-level single-payer health care plan that would cover all Ohioans, and he wants to legalize marijuana and treat drug addiction as a medical crisis, not a criminal crisis.

Kucinich agreed with Cordray that payday lending reforms are needed but he criticized his opponent for leaving his federal job early, where he had the chance to protect consumers in all 50 states.

“He walked off his post at a time when he was needed the most,” he said.

Kucinich’s opponents criticize his willingness to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has used chemical weapons against his own people. Kucinich has met with Assad multiple times.

“I defend peace, I don’t defend people. I stand for peace,” Kucinich said of his meetings with Assad.

Bill O’Neill

O’Neill, 70, resigned from the Ohio Supreme Court in January — up until then he was one of just two Democrats holding statewide elected office in Ohio. (Sen. Sherrod Brown is the other one). His platform has one main theme: legalize marijuana and use the pot tax money to re-open state mental health hospitals to serve people with drug addiction.

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill answers a question during The Journal-News and WLWT-TV sponsored Ohio Democratic Party sanctioned debate for governor candidates hosted by Miami University Regionals Tuesday, April 10 at Finkelman Auditorium on the campus of Miami University Middletown. Former Ohio attorney General Richard Cordray, Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni and former congressman Dennis Kucinich were also in attendance. NICK GRAHAM/JOURNAL-NEWS(Nick Graham)

When it comes to gun control, O’Neill supports banning bump stocks and high-capacity magazines and instituting a “red-flag” law that would allow families to petition the court to remove guns from loved ones who appear to be at risk of self-harm or hurting others. He favors increasing the purchase age for assault weapons to 21 and requiring that they be registered with local police on an annual basis.

O’Neill opposes abortion, capital punishment and right-to-work. He favors increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour through legislation. And while he supports reforming payday lending practices, he maintains that the services are needed in Ohio.

When it comes to education, O’Neill said the school funding system has been illegal for 20 years because it relies too heavily on property taxes and results in inequities. He wants to outlaw for-profit charter schools and mandate a 40-percent cost reduction for students attending public colleges and universities over the next four years.

O’Neill points to administrative bloat and expensive athletic programs areas where universities could cut costs.

“I’m experienced. I’m a retired Army officer with a Bronze Star. I’m a registered nurse and I’m a former Supreme Court justice who brings focus to the race,” O’Neill said. “We need to do something real about the heroin crisis. We need to do something real about the for-profit prisons, like put them out of business. And we need to legalize marijuana to create jobs and save lives.”

Joe Schiavoni

At age 38, Schiavoni is decades younger than the other candidates, and the only Democrat in the field currently holding elected office.

Former Ohio Senator Joe Schiavoni answers a question during The Journal-News and WLWT-TV sponsored Ohio Democratic Party sanctioned debate for governor candidates hosted by Miami University Regionals Tuesday, April 10 at Finkelman Auditorium on the campus of Miami University Middletown. Former Ohio attorney General Richard Cordray, congressman Dennis Kucinich and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill were also in attendance. NICK GRAHAM/JOURNAL-NEWS(Nick Graham)

He opposes right to work and favors increasing the minimum wage over a decade to $15 an hour, starting with a bump next year to $12 an hour. He supports abortion rights and believes the death penalty should be used in more limited circumstances. And he favors full legalization of marijuana if it passes a statewide vote and tax revenues from it are earmarked for a specific, worthy purpose, he said.

Although he has a B-plus NRA rating, Schiavoni is sponsoring a “red-flag” bill in the Ohio Senate to allow families and police to remove guns from people who appear to be a danger to themselves or others. And he says he is for banning bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and assault weapons.

Schiavoni supports expanded Medicaid, and has long pushed to earmark 10-percent of the state’s rainy day fund for local governments struggling to deal with the opiate crisis. He said local authorities could use the money for education programs, first responders, foster care services, job retraining programs and recovery programs.

He supports efforts to crack down on payday lending. “We’ve reached a level where it’s a scam,” Schiavoni said. “It’s a rip off and it’s hurting our most vulnerable people.”

When it comes to education and job creation, Schiavoni is calling for universal pre-kindergarten for 3-year-olds, changing the school funding formula so Ohio is less reliant on property taxes, clamping down on for-profit charter schools and tying college loan forgiveness to home purchases as a way to get Ohio’s brightest and best young people to stay in the state.

No fan of massive tax cuts pushed by the GOP over the past 15 years, Schiavoni said the recent tax break given to LLCs needs to be rolled back. And Ohio needs to increase its severance tax on oil and gas extracted from the ground and boost the state gas tax by up to 5-cents per gallon to help fund infrastructure improvements, he argued. He pledged to push for renewable energy and clean water projects.

“I think we’re giving people something they’ve been clamoring for for years — somebody who is real, who is authentic, somebody who is willing to work,” Schiavoni said. “People are sick of both parties. All they want is somebody real, somebody who is going to deliver on their promises. That’s the stuff that I’ve been talking about.”

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MORE ABOUT THE CANDIDATES

Richard Cordray

Age: 58

Hometown: Grove City

Family: Married, two children.

Education: Michigan State University, B.A.; University of Oxford, M.A.; University of Chicago, J.D

Experience: Former director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Ohio attorney general, Ohio treasurer.

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Dennis Kucinich

Age: 71

Hometown: Cleveland

Family: Married, one grown child.

Education: Case Western Reserve University, bachelor’s and master’s degrees

Experience: Former Cleveland mayor, member of Congress and FoxNews contributor.

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Bill O’Neill

Age: 70

Hometown: Chagrin Falls

Family: Widowed, four grown children.

Education: Ohio University, bachelor’s degree; Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, JD; Huron School of Nursing, RN.

Experience: U.S. Army veteran, pediatric emergency room nurse, civil rights attorney and former Ohio Supreme Court justice.

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Joe Schiavoni

Age: 38

Hometown: Boardman

Family: Married, two children.

Education: Ohio University, bachelor’s degree; Capital University, JD.

Experience: Attorney for injured workers; state senator and former Senate Minority Leader.

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Key Issues: Where do they stand?

Abortion: Cordray, Kucinich and Schiavoni favor abortion rights. O’Neill opposes abortion.

Death penalty: Cordray supports, Kucinich and O’Neill oppose; Schiavoni says its use should be more limited.

Guns: Schiavoni favors allowing removal of guns through court order from those who seem a danger to themselves and others and he wants to ban bump stocks, close background check loopholes and limit high-capacity magazines. He also says he would sign an assault weapons ban. Cordray wants to increase school safety, institute universal background checks and ban bumpstocks and high-capacity magazines. Kucinich favors a swath of gun controls, including ban on assault-style weapons. O’Neill wants to require registration of assault weapons.

Marijuana: Schiavoni and Cordray say Ohio should move to full legalization only through a statewide vote. Kucinich and O’Neill support full legalization.

Minimum wage increase: All four favor increasing it to $15 an hour.

Right-to-work: All four oppose it.

Medicaid expansion: Schiavoni, Cordray and O’Neill favor keeping it in place. Kucinich favors a state-level single payer health care program.

Taxes: Cordray calls for a halt on further tax cuts and pledges to re-prioritize state spending; Kucinich and Schiavoni favors eliminating the small business tax cut and increasing severance taxes. Schiavoni also favors increasing the state gas tax by up to 5 cents per gallon for road improvements. O’Neill wants to tax marijuana but doesn’t favor other hikes.

Wright-Patterson AFB: All four candidates say they’ll work to project jobs and programs at the base.

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What is State Issue 1 on the May ballot?

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 4:35 PM
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 4:35 PM

What is State Issue 1?

On May 8, Ohio voters will decide on major changes to how Ohio draws district lines for members of Congress.

VOTERS GUIDE: What’s on your ballot May 8?

The issue, put on the ballot by the General Assembly by a bi-partisan vote of 83-10 in the House and a unanimous vote in the Senate, is supposed to create a fairer process.

After every census, Ohio lawmakers change the state’s congressional lines based on population shifts. Currently Ohio has 16 members of Congress. However, despite being a swing state in presidential elections, the state’s congressional delegation is lopsided toward Republicans. Currently 12 of the seats are held by Republicans and four by Democrats.

The kicker is that most of the districts are also not considered competitive either way.

State Issue 1 is somewhat confusing. The proposal sets up a three-step process:

* The General Assembly may approve a 10-year map if it three-fifths majority in both the House and Senate agree, along with at least half of the members of the minority and majority parties. It would require the governor’s signature.

* If the Legislature fails to adopt a map, the seven-member Ohio Redistricting Commission would be take over. It may pass a 10-year map if it has at least four votes, including two from the minority party.

* If the commission fails to act, the responsibility returns to the Legislature, which can pass a 10-year map with three-fifths majority vote, including one-third of the minority party members. It would require the governor’s signature.

If the three steps don’t result in a 10-year map, the majority party controlling the Legislature may adopt a four-year map, providing it follows guardrails to protect against unduly favoring a political party or incumbents and against splitting up counties into multiple congressional districts.

RELATED: Guns, minimum wage top issues in Democratic governor primary

The proposed constitutional amendment won support from Fair Districts = Fair Elections, a coalition of some 30 groups seeking redistricting reform.

What’s the current system?

Currently, the political party that controls the General Assembly is in charge of drawing the congressional district maps every 10 years.

Related: Republican fight for governor turns personal

Minority party approval is not required. The result is maps with odd-shaped districts that are drawn to maximize the majority-party’s chances of winning the most congressional districts.

COVERING ALL SIDES

We reached out to the candidates in the local area who are on the May 8 ballot. Learn more about them and the issues in our interactive voters guide at vote.daytondailynews.com

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South Dayton suburban state House race one to watch on Election Day

Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 6:53 PM

Ohio House candidates Niraj Antani, Sarah Clark, Marcus Rech and Zach Dickerson.
Ohio House candidates Niraj Antani, Sarah Clark, Marcus Rech and Zach Dickerson.

If you can measure the popularity of a job by the number of people seeking it, the race for the Ohio House 42 district in southern Montgomery County is the region’s winner.

Five people — three Republicans and two Democrats — are on the May 8 ballot for a seat in a district that has long been a Republican stronghold. About 62 percent of the district is Republican, according to the Ohio Manufacturer’s Association’s 2016 Election Guide.

VOTERS GUIDE: Compare the Democratic candidates on the issues

VOTERS GUIDE: Compare the Republican candidates on the issues

Here is a look at the candidates:

Democrats

Two candidates, Zach Dickerson and Autumn J. Kern, both of Miamisburg, are running for the Democratic nomination. Kern did not respond to any requests for comment or complete a Dayton Daily News Voter Guide.

Dickerson describes himself as a moderate Democrat who wants to focus on “kitchen table” issues such as fixing potholes, improving schools, funding first responders, battling the drug crisis and bringing good jobs and investment to the district.

Zach Dickerson of Miamisburg(Staff Writer)

He supports establishing a new microloan program for small businesses, restoring the local government fund and improving school funding so districts do not have to go on the ballot for property taxes so often. He’s not sure where he would find the money for those measures but said a review is needed to determine whether state tax cuts have been effective in stimulating the economy.

RELATED: Democratic leader says state tax cuts lead to higher local taxes

He supports the state’s expansion of Medicaid, which provides heath insurance to 685,000 Ohioans who were previously ineligible for coverage under Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act. He said that expansion is crucial not only for helping people get preventative care but also in getting treatment for drug addiction.

He said he wants to work on bipartisan legislation to help the district.

“I feel like I will be an advocate for civility,” Dickerson said. “I want a functioning government run by reasonable people. I don’t think we have that right now.”

On other issues, Dickerson said he supports Republican proposed limits on pay day loans and reducing hours for cosmetology licenses. But he said Republican efforts to cut access to safe, legal abortions are wrong-headed and sometimes do not pass constitutional muster.

He did say he would support “reasonable restrictions” such as banning late-term abortions, according to his Voter Guide answers.

Dickerson grew up hunting and said there needs to be a balance between Second Amendment rights and protecting the public. He said assault-style weapons should be banned and he supports “red-flag” legislation that would keep people from having weapons if they pose a threat to themselves or others.

Republicans:

Three candidates are seeking the Republican nomination: State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg; Miamisburg Vice Mayor Sarah M. Clark and political newcomer Marcus Rech.

Niraj Antani

Antani is seeking re-election to the seat he has held since 2014.

He said he has been a strong voice for conservative values in the Statehouse and has voted to cut taxes, for stronger abortion restrictions and for capping college tuition increases.

State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg(Staff Writer)

“As I’m in office longer I have more ability to deliver on legislation,” Antani said.

RELATED: Antani, anti-abortion group urge court to act against Kettering clinic

Antani wants to eliminate the state income tax and says he would oppose raising taxes. At the same time he advocates providing more support to community colleges for workforce development, increasing funding for law enforcement and restoring funding to local governments so they can fix roads and bridges instead of relying on the state to do it.

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COVERING ALL SIDES

We reached out to the candidates in the local area who are on the May 8 ballot. Learn more about them and the issues in our interactive voters guide at vote.daytondailynews.com

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He also wants to have a drug dog inspecting every Fed Ex and U.S. mail piece in the state in an effort to stop the mailing of drugs. Antani said he doesn’t know what that would cost but it “would be very expensive.”

Doing without the state’s income tax revenue — which totaled $8 billion in 2017 — would be a tall order. Although he didn’t have a firm plan for reducing state revenues by that amount while still increasing funding for measures he supports, Antani said lawmakers would have to set priorities. He also advocated using $1 billion of the state’s rainy day fund for law enforcement to help fight the opioid epidemic.

Antani said he wants to reduce the number of people on Medicaid by providing work training and job coaches for able-bodied, childless adults.

Antani would eliminate the state-mandated minimum wage, which is currently governed by a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2006 that requires that it rise with inflation.

“The market should dictate wages,” Antani said.

He wants to freeze any changes in kindergarten through 12 education for five years and study best practices during the period, he said.

Antani is a strong supporter of restricting abortion rights and of loosening restrictions on guns. He said will support any anti-abortion legislation, including requiring that schools teach the controversial concept that a fetus feels pain at 18-20 weeks, something many scientists say is not true based on the neurological development of a fetus, according to Factcheck.org.

Earlier this year he advocated that 18-year-olds be allowed to carry long guns to high school, a position that was criticized by fellow Republicans as well as Democrats. He said he is no longer commenting on the subject.

RELATED: Ohio lawmaker: ‘Did a poor job of communicating’ position on students bearing firearms

Sarah M. Clark

The Miamisburg councilwoman said her opposition to Antani’s representation of the district is what put her in the race. She said she has more real world experience than he does and believes she would do a better job in the Statehouse.

Clark said she supports the Second Amendment but Antani’s idea that students could bring guns to school is wrong-headed and dangerous.

Sarah M. Clark, Miamisburg Vice Mayor(Staff Writer)

“I think it certainly highlighted his immaturity and inexperience,” Clark said, arguing that highly-trained armed security guards are a better option.

Clark wants to eliminate the Medicaid expansion, which she said costs taxpayers too much and hurts the people who are on Medicaid because she says they can’t find doctors who will take Medicaid.

RELATED: Kasich vs. lawmakers in Medicaid fight: ‘If you break it, you own it’

She said health care wouldn’t be so expensive if the state passed a health care cost transparency plan that would make pricing more competitive.

She does credit Medicaid with covering drug treatment for addiction. She said too many legislators focus on punishing addicts but she wants to instead have the state get people 18 months of treatment and imprison all drug dealers who sell opioids, methamphetamine and cocaine.

Clark said she wants to get rid of government regulations that have hurt job creation, though she couldn’t name one that she would put on the chopping block. 

She also wants to cut taxes if possible and said tax breaks have enabled Miamisburg to attract companies to the city.

RELATED: Three-term councilwoman elected new vice mayor of Miamisburg

Clark opposes “abortion in all circumstances,” according to her Voter Guide answers. She said abortion opponents should extend their “pro-life” view to making sure people are “supported and cared for” after they are born as well. She said she’d like to see churches and other community groups take over more of the job of helping people with addiction, health care and foster care.

Marcus Rech

Rech said he is running because he believes Antani is too divisive. He also said he opposes Antani’s idea of teenagers bringing guns to school.

“You can’t have 18 year olds walking around with loaded long rifles in schools,” Rech said. “It was a big blow to Second Amendment supporters. It made us look stupid.”

Rech said a better plan for school safety would be more use of metal detectors, hiring more security and training school staff as backups.

RELATED: Who is running?: 18 local state House and Senate on ballot this year

Rech wants to repeal the expansion of Medicaid health insurance and said people who lose their insurance should negotiate their own prices with doctors under the Direct Primary Care model. He supports more transparency in health care pricing as well.

“I just want people to have choices,” Rech said.

Marcus Rech of Miamisburg(Staff Writer)

He believes government subsidies for medical care are what has driven up prices.

A big theme for Rech is that Americans need to be the ones getting jobs. He said schools should upgrade the core curriculum and the state needs to give teachers more freedom. He also said there needs to be more vocational training because not everyone is cut out for college.

“I’d like to see a cheaper version of education,” Rech said. “I’d like to see it more streamlined.”

He opposes the use of special visas and green cards to hire non-Americans by universities, contractors and government.

“I think we should talk to these companies and if we need to maybe we can do some taxation to discourage it,” said Rech.

Ohio House of Representatives 42nd District

Term: 2 years

Pay: $60,584 annually

District: Moraine, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Germantown and part of Centerville, and Washington, Miami and German townships.

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More information on the candidates

Zach Dickerson

Age: 38

Address: Miamisburg

Education: Law degree from University of Denver and bachelor of fine arts from Texas State University

Employment: Market research manager at Lexis-Nexis

Political experience: None

Political party: Democrat

Autumn J. Kern

Address: Miamisburg

Political party: Democrat

Kern did not respond to requests for further information

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Niraj Antani

Age: 27

Address: Miamisburg

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio State University

Employment: State representative

Political experience: State representative since 2014

Political party: Republican

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Sarah M. Clark

Age: 35

Address: Miamisburg

Education: Bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Trevveca Nazarene University

Employment: Business manager at Midwest Dental and Miamisburg vice mayor

Political experience: Mimaisburg council member since 2010

Political party: Republican

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Marcus Rech

Age: 28

Address: Miamisburg

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business management from Thomas Edison State University

Employment: R &R Painting and Flooring

Political experience: None

Political party: Republican

 

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