Washington, DC – People For the American Way today said it was “disappointed” by a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision allowing Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to move forward with a last-minute elections rule change that could leave thousands of Ohio provisional ballots uncounted. The unanimous three-judge panel, consisting of one George H.W. Bush and two George W. Bush nominees, overturned the ruling of District Court judge Algenon Marbley. Marbley had blasted Husted for making a last-minute rule change for the counting of ballots that could disenfranchise thousands of Ohioans.
“We are deeply disappointed by the Sixth Circuit’s decision,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “One of the most sacred rights in our democracy is the right to cast a vote that counts. Many Ohioans waited in line for hours on November 6 to cast a ballot. That right should never be allowed to be taken away by capricious rulings of elections officials. How many Ohioans will take pride that they voted, never realizing that a partisan election official ordered their ballot to be ignored? Would Husted be able to look citizens in the eye and tell them that their votes weren't counted?"
“Husted and his Republican colleagues across the country have been trying to game the system in every way possible to make it harder for certain Americans to cast ballots,” continued Keegan. “Across the country, they have run up against a strong and independent federal judiciary that has stood up for the rights of citizens. It is disappointing that the Sixth Circuit has broken that trend, ruling against the clear interests of Ohio’s voters. Let this be a reminder to progressives as President Obama begins his second term: the federal judiciary is the most lasting legacy of any president. Let’s work to make sure the next four years sees the confirmation of fair, impartial judges who will stick up for the rights of individual Americans under the Constitution.”
According to exit polls, 56% of Ohio voters said that abortion should be legal in all or mostly all cases. But that hasn’t stopped the state’s GOP-controlled legislature from pushing the ‘Heartbeat Bill,’ which would effectively ban abortion in nearly all cases. The House has already approved the legislation but it has not yet received a vote in the Senate, and radical activist Janet Porter has been actively campaigning against Republicans who have not signed on to the bill. Porter’s main legislative ally and the bill’s chief sponsor in the house, Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, is now working to secure support in the Senate for the Heratbeat Bill along with a new proposal to defund Planned Parenthood, even though the healthcare organization doesn’t use taxpayer dollars for abortion services and the move may not be legal.
The Columbus Dispatch reports:
House Health and Aging Committee Chairman Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, scheduled a possible vote to recommend passage of House Bill 298 for Wednesday.
Backed by Ohio Right to Life and other anti-abortion advocates, the bill stalled last spring over concern that it also would divert funding from hospitals, which was not the intent of supporters. The legislation would create a priority system for awarding federal family-planning funds, putting Planned Parenthood at the bottom of the list and probably cutting off about $1.7 million it uses for birth control and preventive care.
The money does not fund abortions, but supporters argue that tax dollars should not go to any organization that performs abortions.
Meanwhile, abortion foes might be nearing a compromise on the so-called “heartbeat bill,” which would outlaw abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That’s usually about five to six weeks into pregnancy, when many women don’t yet realize they are pregnant.
Cleveland, Ohio – Ohio members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council urged Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to drop his attempt to disenfranchise Ohio voters who cast provisional ballots. Three days after the election, tens of thousands of provisional ballots remain uncounted. Secretary Husted attempted last week to change the rules for counting provisional ballots, making it more likely that ballots would be invalidated, and the rule change is currently being considered by a federal judge.
“Voting is over and most of the races have been called, but this election won’t be completed until every vote is counted,” said Rev. Tony Minor of Cleveland, Ohio Coordinator of the African American Ministers Leadership Council. “Every single person who shows up to vote on Election Day should be confident that their vote will be counted and their voice will be heard. Secretary Husted is trying to throw up last-minute barriers in an effort to stop some of these votes from counting. That’s undemocratic and unacceptable.”
Yesterday, Husted reportedly floated the idea of dividing Ohio’s electoral votes by congressional district in the future, making it possible that the winner of the popular vote in Ohio would not receive the majority of the state’s electoral votes.
“Secretary Husted’s job is to help Ohioans vote and to guarantee that our votes count,” added Rev. Minor. “Instead, he’s fighting in court to suppress this year’s votes, and planning how to make Ohioans’ votes count less four years from now. Sec. Husted should know that every person who turned out to vote in Ohio on Tuesday is invested in our political process, and we will continue to fight for our voting rights.”
People For the American Way launched a campaign today aimed at making sure Ohio women understand the danger of a Supreme Court nominated by Mitt Romney. The campaign, which includes television, direct mail, Internet advertising and telephone calls, exposes the power that Romney’s Supreme Court justices would have to eliminate abortion rights and undermine the rights of women in the workplace.
The TV ad, “Mitt Romney’s Supreme Court: Too Extreme,” can be viewed here. Versions of the ad previously ran in Ohio and in Florida during the Republican National Convention.
“Mitt Romney too often tries to hide his extremism on issues including reproductive rights and equal pay,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “But when it comes to his Supreme Court picks, he’s been clear: he’ll bow to the far right and deliver justices who would roll back the rights of women. A Romney presidency might only last four years, but his Supreme Court could threaten the rights of women for a lifetime.”
“Polling has made it indisputably clear that women, particularly women in Ohio, will be critical in deciding the outcome of this election,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “We’re making sure that female voters have all the facts about the dangers of a Romney presidency.”
Washington, DC -- People For the American Way expanded its campaign targeting Latino voters this week, adding outreach in Nevada and North Carolina and launching the second in a series of Spanish-language television ads exposing Mitt Romney's dangerous agenda for Latinos. The ad, running in key markets in Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, features interviews with real voters reacting to Romney's promise to veto the DREAM Act if it were to be passed by Congress. The two TV ads, along with radio and direct mail outreach are part of a $1.2 million and growing campaign in key swing states.
The new ad, "Dream Act," can be viewed here.
"Mitt Romney has been very clear about his extreme anti-Latino agenda," said Michael Keegan, president of People For the American Way. "He slammed Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. He touted the endorsement of Kris Kobach, the architect of disastrous, draconian anti-immigrant measures in Arizona and Alabama. He vowed to make life so difficult for undocumented immigrants that they would be forced to 'self-deport.' He even rejected the DREAM Act, which after being partially implemented by President Obama's executive order, is helping thousands of loyal, hard-working young Americans give back to the country they call home."
"Romney plans to heap further tax cuts on the wealthiest at the expense of programs that benefit working people,"continued Keegan. "Americans should have a shot at the American dream. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to slam the door on all but the already privileged few."
Cleveland, Ohio – Ohio members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council praised a U.S. Supreme Court ruling today that ensures Ohio polls will remain open in the three days prior to November’s election. The state legislature eliminated early voting in the weekend before the election despite the fact that over 90,000 Ohioans had taken advantage of that period to vote in 2008. Ohio’s Secretary of State appealed a lower court ruling reinstating the early voting period to the Supreme Court.
“This is a great victory for voting rights, and for voters, in Ohio,” said Rev. Dr. Tony Minor of Cleveland, Ohio Coordinator of the African American Ministers Leadership Council. “Weekend voting in the days before the election was an unmitigated success in 2008, helping to increase turnout and reduce long lines. But some of our elected leaders saw this great success as a failure, and worked hard to make sure it wasn’t repeated. Their efforts to restrict turnout – especially among African Americans – weren’t just wrong, they were unconstitutional. Community and church leaders will take advantage of this restored early voting period to not only repeat, but expand the voter turnout success of 2008.”
The African American Ministers Leadership Council, a program of People For the American Way Foundation founded in 1997, works nationwide to help bring African Americans to the polls through the non-partisan “I Am A VESSEL and I Vote!” program.
You can play a big role in spreading the word about why a Mitt Romney presidency - and the prospect of Mitt Romney appointing Supreme Court justices -- would be dangerous for America.
How? By writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Letters to the editor are extremely effective because voters trust people in their own communities. And newspapers want to hear from you about what matters.
Be sure to give your name, address and a phone number with your letter. For those submitted via e-mail, the subject line should read “Letter to the Editor.” For letters submitted via regular mail, they should say “Attn: Editor.” Before a letter is printed, a member of the newspaper staff may give you a call.
Letters shouldn’t be much more than 200-300 words. Short and to-the-point letters are the most effective.
It is important that you use your own words when writing a letter to the editor. But, here are a few points you will probably want to make:
After you send your letter, please e-mail People For the American Way Ohio Coordinator Seth Bringman at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know you did. This will help us track our progress in getting our message out. And if you'd like, include the text of your letter and your name and hometown.
Below is a list of Ohio newspapers and how to submit a letter. Election Day is approaching fast -- and people are already voting -- so please send in a letter to the editor today!
Akron Beacon Journal: Send letter to: email@example.com
Alliance Review: Send letter to: 40 S. Linden Ave., Alliance OH 44601
Ashland Times-Gazette: Send letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashtabula Star-Beacon: Send letter to: email@example.com
Athens News Send letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bellefontaine Examiner: Send letter to: P.O. Box 40, Bellefontaine OH 43311
Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune: Fill out this form.
Bryan Times Send: Send letter to: email@example.com
Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum: Send letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canton Repository: Send letter to: email@example.com
Chillicothe Gazette: Fill out this form.
Cincinnati Enquirer: Fill out this form.
Circleville Herald: Fill out this form.
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Send letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Columbus Dispatch: Send letter to: email@example.com
Coshocton Tribune: Fill out this form.
Daily Advocate: Fill out this form.
Daily Chief Union: Send letter to: P.O. Box 180, 111 W. Wyandot, Upper Sandusky OH 43351
Daily Court Reporter: Send letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Daily Jeffersonian: Fill out this form. (Note: You must register first)
Daily Kent Stater: Send letter to: email@example.com
Daily Standard: Send letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dayton Daily News: Fill out this form.
Defiance Crescent-News: Fill out this form.
Delaware Gazette: Fill out this form.
Elyria Chronicle-Telegram: Send letter to: email@example.com
Fairborn Daily Herald: Send letter to: 30 S. Detroit St., Xenia OH 45385
Findlay Courier: Send letter to: P.O. Box 609, Findlay OH 45839
Fremont News-Messenger: Fill out this form.
Gallipolis Daily Tribune: Send letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Medina Gazette: Send letter to: email@example.com
Hamilton News Journal: Send letter to: P.O. Box 298, Hamilton OH 45013
Hillsboro Times-Gazette: Fill out this form.
Ironton Tribune: Fill out this form.
Kenton Times: Send letter to: P.O. Box 230, Kenton OH 43326
Lancaster Eagle-Gazette: Fill out this form.
Lima News: Fill out this form.
Logan Daily News: Fill out this form.
Lorain Morning Journal: Send letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marietta Times: Fill out this form.
Marion Star: Send letter to: 150 Court St., Marion OH 43302
Marysville Journal-Tribune: Send letter to: P.O. Box 226, 207 N. Main St., Marysville OH 43040
Middletown Journal: Send letter to: P.O. Box 490, Middletown OH 45042
Mount Vernon News: Send letter to: Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 791, Mount Vernon OH 43050
Newark Advocate: Fill out this form.
Mansfield News Journal: Fill out this form.
Martins Ferry Times Leader: Send letter to: email@example.com
Massillon Independent: Fill out this form.
Napoleon Northwest Signal: Fill out this form.
New Philadelphia Times-Reporter: Send letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Norwalk Reflector: Send letter to: P.O. Box 71, Norwalk OH 44857
Piqua Daily Call: Send letter to: P.O. Box 921, Piqua OH 45356
Port Clinton News-Herald: Fill out this form.
Portsmouth Daily Times: Fill out this form. (NOTE: You must register first)
Ravenna Record-Courier: Fill out this form.
Salem News: Fill out this form.
Sandusky Register: Fill out this form.
Shelby Daily Globe: Send letter to: P.O. Box 647, Shelby OH 44875
Sidney Daily News: Send letter to: P.O. Box 4099, Sidney OH 45365
Springfield News-Sun: Fill out this form.
St. Marys Evening Leader: Fill out this form.
Steubenville Herald-Star: Send letter to: 401 Herald Square, Steubenville OH 43952
Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune: Send letter to: P.O. Box 778, Tiffin OH 44883
Toledo Blade: Send letter to: email@example.com
Troy Daily News: Send letter to: 224 S. Market St., Troy OH 45373
Van Wert Times Bulletin: Send letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wapakoneta Daily Times: Fill out this form.
Warren Tribune Chronicle: Fill out this form.
Washington C.H. Record-Herald: Send letter to: W.C.H. Record-Herald, 138 S Fayette St, W.C.H. OH 43160
Willoughby News-Herald: Send letter to: 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby OH 44094
Wilmington News-Journal: Send letter to: email@example.com
Wooster Daily Record: Send letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Xenia Daily Gazette: Send letter to: 30 S. Detroit St., Xenia OH 45385
Youngstown Vindicator: Send letter to: email@example.com
Zanesville Times Recorder: Fill out this form.
Faith2Action’s Janet Porter believes that her prized Heartbeat Bill, which would criminalize nearly all abortions, may soon receive a vote in the GOP-controlled Ohio State Senate. The bill already passed the House but has been held up in the State Senate, leading Porter to embark on a campaign to drive out Republicans who didn’t want to put the bill up for a vote and bring together Religious Right activists to pray for the bill’s passage.
According to a letter sent to supporters earlier this month [PDF], Porter said that her bill may receive a vote in the Senate before the general election in November. Of course, Porter has predicted the passage of her bill in Ohio and other states many times before, and she is organizing another prayer rally in the Statehouse Atrium on October, 28.
Dear Friend of Faith2Action,
Since you last heard from me, we've entered a critical new phase in the Heartbeat Bill – one that has involved intense behind-the-scenes negotiations with former opponents of the bill and much prayer and fasting! I am absolutely amazed: it appears that God is doing the miraculous again by turning former Heartbeat Bill opponents into allies! I believe we are finally reaching the point of breakthrough.
As I write this, the final changes to an agreed-upon "compromise bill" are being drafted—without losing the vital legal protection for babies. In some ways, this new version is even stronger than the original thanks to countless hours of painstaking work by some of the nation's leading pro-life attorneys.
This revised, mutually acceptable bill will be presented to leaders in the Senate this week and we are asking for a vote on the Heartbeat Bill on the floor of the Ohio State Senate, before the election!
The good news: This agreed-upon bill is a huge step toward a floor vote and the most important breakthrough since it passed the House more than a year ago. We are now just inches away from effectively ending abortion in Ohio!
The bad news: We've gone to the mat many times in the past for causes we believed in, but never before in our decade-long history have our resources been this depleted. Getting the Heartbeat Bill to this point has literally taken everything we have personally and as a ministry. We've spent our personal savings, gone without salaries and poured everything we had into getting our message out to the pro-life voters, prayer warriors and senators of Ohio.
Our campaign to publicly hold our senators accountable for their inaction included tens of thousands of postcards, weekly press releases, robo-calls, newspaper ads, rallies, emails, and flyers. And it worked! We give God all the glory for this. And I personally want to thank our loyal supporters like you who make our work possible.
Twenty-six years ago this week, back in 1986, Antonin Scalia was confirmed to a lifetime seat on the United States Supreme Court, where he has since done great damage to the rights of ordinary Americans. Since Mitt Romney points to Scalia as the type of Justice he would nominate, a group of PFAW activists in Ohio took this week’s anniversary as an opportunity to reach out to voters and let them know what would be in store for them under a Romney Court.
Seth Bringman of People For’s Romney Court Campaign turned Romney’s dream into a reality; or more accurately, the nightmare that it would be for the American people.
Romney’s commitment to appoint justices like Antonin Scalia would have devastating consequences if Romney were elected president. Every law that the states and Congress pass can end up before Supreme Court; who sits on the bench has lasting importance not only for today, but for generations to come. In the words of President (and later Chief Justice) William Howard Taft, “Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever.”
Here are a few highlights of Scalia’s legacy (and thus also the legacy of the president, Ronald Reagan, who nominated him more than a quarter century ago):
▶ Scalia has said that Roe v. Wade does not make any sense and that a woman’s right to choose is not a liberty protected by the Constitution.
▶ Scalia says the Constitution doesn’t protect the privacy of two consenting adults in their own homes.
▶ Scalia held that corporations can spend unlimited money on elections (Citizens United).
▶ Scalia has always found some excuse to uphold discrimination against gay people, and has argued that states are free to pass laws singling out gay people for mistreatment just because legislators don’t like them.
▶ Scalia voted to allow a company to use the fine print of its consumer contracts, such as for cell phones, to immunize itself from being sued even by customers it purposely and illegally defrauded.
▶ Scalia voted to deny female employees of a large national company who were victims of systemic discrimination the right to join together and go to court to stand up for their rights.
▶ Scalia voted that a woman who was paid less than men at her company for the same work for 20 years could not file a discrimination suit against her employer because she failed to file her suit within 180 days of her first paycheck, even though she had no way of knowing at that time that she was being discriminated against.
While Ronald Reagan may be long gone from the White House, his nominees to the nation’s highest court are still imposing a far right agenda on the nation. Should Mitt Romney have the opportunity to mold the Court in his own image, they may still be there well into the 2040s. To find out more about Mitt Romney’s frightening vision for the Supreme Court, visit http://romneycourt.com/.
This weekend on her radio show, Mission America’s Linda Harvey hosted Ohio pastor Greg Davis to talk about the billboard his church put up last year which read: “Homosexuality is a sin… but Christ can set you free.” Harvey congratulated Davis for taking his stance on homosexuality to the streets in order to “set people free,” hoping that more people would follow their example and make their anti-gay views public. Davis told Harvey that the billboard was necessary to tell young people that the gay “lifestyle will destroy” and “devastate” them, angry that teens are apparently being “pushed and encouraged for this lifestyle.” He said that schools should promote the discredited and damaging ex-gay therapy, lamenting, “That’s not there, and that’s what we want them to put in there.”
Harvey: In working on this issue for now, it’s been 18 years that God called me into speaking out about this issue, and it’s been quite an adventure, I would have to say. I found out that there are an awful lot of people that won’t speak out themselves but behind the scenes they will tell you how much they support what you’re doing and so we just have to, some people just need to step out, and you did and God bless you for that, and take the heat. We have to keep the truth in front of people, also the fact that truth can be spoken and it is not hateful, it is loving, there is nothing hateful about this message, it will set people free, right?
Davis: Yes. We love people. We feel this lifestyle will destroy, especially a young teenager, a young man or girl in their twenties, this lifestyle will devastate them, but that’s masked at the beginning. For the average teenager who may go to their school teenager or their principal or they may disclose to someone that they’re having these feelings, they would be encouraged to follow them. There is no voice there to say ‘let’s wait a minute, let’s seek some help, we will try to find some counselors for you, have people pray with you and you can have victory over this in your life.’ That’s not there, and that’s what we want them to put in there. I prayed almost every day that there would be some teenagers and young people just driving down the freeway with their parents and would read that sign and be encouraged to seek some help and to find it, because they are pushed and encouraged for this lifestyle.
Cleveland, Ohio – Ohio members of the African American Ministers Leadership Council (AAMLC) applauded a federal court’s decision today to restore early voting rights for all Ohioans in the three days before November’s election.
In 2008, 93,000 Ohioans cast their votes in the three days before the election. Last year, the Ohio legislature and Gov. John Kasich passed a law eliminating early voting during those three days. The Obama campaign sued to reinstate it. Last Sunday, AAMLC member Rev. Dr. Tony Minor wrote an op-ed in the Plain Dealer criticizing attempts to limit early voting in Ohio.
“This is a victory for our democracy, and a victory for every Ohio voter,” said Rev. Dr. Tony Minor of Cleveland, Ohio coordinator of the African American Ministers Leadership Council. “Early voting helped make it easier for many working Ohioans to vote four years ago. It was a success story for civic participation and for civil rights. Our elected officials’ cynical attempts to make it harder for Ohioans to cast our ballots went against both the spirit of our democracy and the letter of our law.”
The African American Ministers Leadership Council, a program of People For the American Way Foundation founded in 1997, works nationwide to help bring African Americans to the polls through the non-partisan “I Am A VESSEL and I Vote!” program.
Cleveland, Ohio – Members of the African American Ministers Leadership Council, a program of People For the American Way Foundation, reacted today to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s order to standardize early voting hours statewide. The order equalizes early voting hours throughout the state by eliminating all weekend early voting, a critical part of what made early voting in Ohio so successful four years ago.
“Secretary of State Husted could have lifted everyone in Ohio up together, but instead he brought us all down together,” said Rev. Dr. Tony Minor of Cleveland. “Secretary Husted was right to standardize early voting hours in Ohio. But a deal that leaves everyone worse off isn’t a victory. In 2008, one quarter of Ohio voters took advantage of convenient hours to cast our ballots early, eliminating the long lines of 2004 and contributing to a strong turnout.”
“Secretary Husted’s cynical solution to the discriminatory mess of laws he helped create was to bring everyone down to the lowest common denominator ” added Rev. Dr. Minor. “Husted should be trying to make it easier for everyone in Ohio to vote, not to make it equally difficult.”
The African American Ministers Leadership Council, founded in 1997, has been working nationwide to help bring African Americans to the polls in every election, most recently through the newly-launched non-partisan “I Am A VESSEL and I Vote!” program.