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Monday, May 09, 2005

Reform in Ohio - Three Initiatives To Make Democracy Work for the People

Derek headed to Ohio last week to work with some folks who are seeking to make Ohio elections better. A coalition called Reform Ohio Now has just begun collecting signatures for three constitutional amendment initiatives: redistricting, campaign finance reform, and election administration. T.C. Brown of the Cleveland Plain Dealer focuses on the redistricting initiative in this perspective on the three initiatives, and Jim Provance of the Toledo Blade takes a look at the array of different initiatives that may be on the November ballot in Ohio.

As part of our efforts in Ohio, we have launched a new webpage dealing exclusively with Ohio. Among the features:
-Analysis of Campaign Fundraising in 2004 Ohio Legislative Elections and Electoral Competition Under Current Ohio Redistricting Plan;
-Background on the Need for Reform in Ohio, including info on last year's HB 1, campaign finance legislation designed to increase the control of wealthy interests on Ohio government; and
-information on volunteering to collect signatures for the initiatives.

For a representative democracy to work effectively to reflect the true will of the people, sometimes citizens have to act where the legislature is unwilling or unable to do so. The Reform Ohio Now initiatives are a great example of the people expressing their discontent with their elected officials' continued pandering to their richest donors and the backroom deals to protect incumbents of both parties. The third initiative, dealing with election administration, takes significant strides towards ensuring that Ohioans' votes are cast, counted, and verified correctly.

If these reforms are successful, Ohioans may actually get a set of elected officials who don't act out of blind or cynical self-interest, but in the interest of the people they are supposed to represent. Check out the new pages and let us know what you think.

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