The Canton Repository

Voter purge.

Expect to hear those two words many more times over the next few months than you had in all the days of your life until last week, a number that quite possibly had been zero.

Within minutes of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision affirming the way Ohio culls (purges) inactive voters from its rolls, Republicans and Democrats at the state and federal levels, along with various special interest groups, latched onto an issue that figures to play a significant part in campaigns up and down the statewide ballot this fall.

The responses followed predictable partisan lines — Republicans in favor of the 5-4 ruling, Democrats opposed — and, in a few cases, the level of hyperbole reached 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. ...

Ohio’s major party candidates for secretary of state in this fall’s election also weighed in.

"By working with the bipartisan county boards of election, we can balance the responsibility to maintain accurate voter rolls while still being fair to all voters," Republican Frank LaRose said.

"While the U.S. Supreme Court declared in a split decision that Ohio’s aggressive voter purging doesn’t conflict with federal law, the choice to continue is one that is left to the states. As Ohio’s next Secretary of State, I will end this policy of overly aggressive and unnecessary voter purging," Democrat Kathleen Clyde said.

Voters can expect to hear much more on this topic between now and November.



The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer

The revelation that Ohio ranks No. 2 among the 50 states in the percentage of its drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked should galvanize state lawmakers to accelerate action on two bipartisan reform measures co-sponsored by Greater Clevelanders. The state rankings come from the auto insurance comparison shopping website Insurify.

... When poorer drivers lose their licenses, they often lose their jobs and then can’t work their way out the bind. People of means simply pay the reinstatement fee and move on — or they don’t get their licenses suspended in the first place because they can pay their original fines. And in Ohio, multiple license suspensions can create fast-escalating fees. ...

Substitute House Bill 336, sponsored by state Reps. John Barnes Jr., a Democrat from Warrensville Heights, and Dave Greenspan, Republican of Westlake, would create a six-month amnesty period to get licenses reinstated, either for no fee or greatly discounted fees, depending on income and other eligibility requirements. It’s a sensible bipartisan measure that sailed through the House last December with only one "no" vote and unanimously passed out of a Senate committee last month with minor amendments. Greenspan says the Senate may pass it later this month. Ohio lawmakers should finish work on the bill and send it to Gov. John Kasich’s desk before they take their summer recess. ...



The (Youngstown) Vindicator

In a five-year period, the scandal-ridden Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow charter diverted $591 million from local school districts in Ohio, including $24 million from those in the Mahoning Valley.

So, what did Ohioans get for that financial raid on public education? An abject lesson in how special-interest politics influences policymaking.

The charter-school industry has operated in Ohio for more than two decades with comparatively limited oversight because Republicans in state government have been held hostage by the campaign contributions and other largess from the charter operators.

As a result, billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on this experiment in education that has largely proven to be a failure. Nonetheless, Republican decision-makers in Columbus continue to insist that charter schools are a necessary alternative to underperforming public schools.

But the now defunct Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, which was touted by the GOP when it was launched, is a stark reminder of the charter industry’s failure to deliver. ...

Republicans who have enabled the charters have a lot of explaining to do.