Ohioans shun government overreach

On the side

Top billing: Among the 20 largest counties in Ohio, Mahoning had the highest percentage of no votes on Issue 2, which would have restricted collective-bargaining rights for public employees. Mahoning’s no vote was 71.78 percent. Trumbull was second with 71.48 percent.

In honor of being No. 1, the Mahoning County Democratic Party is holding a dinner from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Youngstown Saxon Club at 710 S. Meridian Road. Tickets are $10 each.

Preemptive strike: Democrat John Boccieri lost his re-election bid last year for a seat in the U.S. House. The National Republican Congressional Committee wants to make sure Boccieri, who’s mulling another run in 2012, doesn’t return.

The NRCC sent an email criticizing Boccieri’s 2010 vote in favor of the federal health-care bill the day after Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment aimed at blocking certain mandates from taking effect in the state.

What lessons were learned from this election?

I ask better questions than provide answers so bear with me.

Ohioans want reform when it comes to public-sector employees.

But state Issue 2 was soundly defeated because many voters saw the Republican-backed plan as a government overreach.

An even larger percentage of voters approved state Issue 3.

It’s a constitutional amendment to not require Ohioans to accept certain provisions of the Democratic-backed federal health-care plan.

Catchy summary

It also had a catchy summary: an amendment “to preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage.”

State Issue 3 was soundly approved because many voters, at least in Ohio, see the plan, called Obamacare by its opponents, as a government overreach.

Democrats contend Issue 3’s ballot language was deceptive and they were too focused on Issue 2 to worry about a constitutional amendment that will likely be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I spent zero resources on Issue 3,” said Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras. “I didn’t communicate with our base on it. We put all of our eggs in the no campaign for Issue 2.”

Republicans contend the anti-Issue 2 campaign was deceptive and made it sound like people would die — firefighters and nurses would be fired — if the bill passed.

Mahoning County Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe called it “probably one of the most dishonest campaigns I’ve seen.”

Political parties would be wise to realize that voters aren’t crazy about change. But if you’re going to do it, try moderation.

Both sides can claim victory, and they have already done so.

Turning to local issues, it was the same old, same old.

With only a few exceptions, the new tax levies in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties failed.

Those exceptions were for relatively small amounts of money.

Those asking for serious cash from voters — the same people dealing with their own economic problems and being forced to make major cutbacks — were told the money just isn’t there.

The new paper-ballot voting system in Mahoning County is something to watch in 2012. The results came in around the same time as the previous electronic touch-screen machines.


But the new state requirement that comes with the new system could cause significant delays next year.

The number of ballots must be first counted at the polling locations and match the number of voters in each precinct before they can be sent to the elections board.

This caused a delay in getting results Tuesday, followed by a mad rush to count votes.

Accuracy is far more important than speed. Just don’t be surprised if the results take several more hours during next year’s presidential election, with a much higher turnout.

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