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IT'S DEMOCRACY'S MOMENT


The contemptible voter-suppression mission of the Republican supermajority in the Ohio General Assembly is being met by a praiseworthy reaction from groups devoted to the protection of democracy.

The most important constitutional question in Ohio for more than a century is set for an Aug. 8 special election, a summer date selected solely to provide minimal voter participation.


The GOP wants to change the threshold required to amend Ohio’s constitution from a simple majority to 60 percent and to make qualification for ballot issues much more difficult.

Ohio Republicans are confident they can turn out partisans in a low-participation election and enhance their governmental power by diluting citizen authority.

The Ohio Unity Coalition-Toledo unveiled a plan (“Organizations join to help potential voters acquire state-issued photo ID’s,” Monday) to help voters meet the requirements to participate in the special election.

State lawmakers provided legitimacy to Trump campaign inspired claims of voter fraud with a new requirement for a state-issued photo ID or U.S. passport or military ID. For voters without an Ohio driver’s license, the formerly acceptable identification of a utility bill or check stub is no longer enough.


There is a cost and hassle factor to obtain birth certificates or social security cards needed to get the photo ID for voting from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

The NAACP Toledo, Lucas County Commissioner Lisa Sobecki, and local labor leaders with the AFL-CIO and CWA are using the public library system to assist voters who need this service.

It is a significant contribution to wide voter participation that should be a perpetual part of life in Lucas County.

The Toledo effort should also copy the Democracy Challenge initiated by the Gahanna Foundation in suburban Columbus.

High school student volunteers will attend city council meetings in all 15 Franklin County communities, using the public-comment opportunity to explain the voter-participation challenge and ask council for a resolution acknowledging the competition for turnout supremacy.


Furthermore, the Franklin County students will ask each community council to approve a three paragraph Vow of Democracy that encourages voter participation as the preservation of self-government and justice.

Unsurprisingly, the student-driven Democracy Challenge has a strong social-media strategy intended to increase awareness of the Aug. 8 election and make voting a personally defining activity.

It is inspiring to see high school students, many who are too young to vote in August, create an antidote to the anti-democratic strategy of cynical politicians quietly assuming miniscule participation.

The Ohio Unity Coalition-Toledo would be wise to add the Democracy Challenge to their crucially important Aug. 8 special election voter-participation program. Lucas County local governments would show leadership to post the Vow of Democracy on their community internet site.


The state GOP is literally hoping Ohioans will not rise to the challenge of democracy and protect citizen power on Aug. 8.






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