Non-profit

Ohio Committee for Safe and Secure Elections

Type:

Single Issue Advocacy Campaign

Project of:

Sixteen Thirty Fund

Campaign Manager:

Toni Webb

Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections (also known as the Ohio Committee for Safe and Secure Elections) is a center-left election reform advocacy organization. The group is currently working to secure a left-leaning election administration policy question added as a ballot initiative in the 2020 election that would create same-day voter registration, automatically register voters at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and require four full weeks of early voting; a state board ruled the initiative must be divided into separate questions. [1]

The committee is a project of several notable left of center organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the For Our Future PAC. It is connected to the Sixteen Thirty Fund,[2] a funding and fiscal sponsorship organization responsible for many ballot initiatives across the nation that is managed by the Washington, D.C.-based liberal philanthropic consultancy Arabella Advisors. [3]

Background

Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections is a single-issue advocacy group formed to promote and petition for a voting requirements initiative on the 2020 ballot in the state of Ohio. The group is supported by many left-leaning national and state wide political organizations including Freedom BLOC, Ohio’s A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Ohio Chapter of the NAACP, the Ohio Environmental Council, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, the Ohio Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Ohio Student Association, Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, and URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity. Much of the group’s advocacy and organization is conducted by the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union which promotes the support the organization has across the left-of-center community and is responsible for much of the petition signature-gathering for the ballot initiative. [4]

The Campaign Manager of Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections is Toni Webb, who also serves as the Ohio Director of the For Our Future PAC, a progressive organizing political action committee committed to promoting left-leaning election policies. Since its founding in 2016, the PAC has engaged over 700,000 Ohio voters and has been supported the reelection campaign of US Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Webb also serves as the Ohio representative on the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center’s “Victory 2020 committee” and is a board member and executive workgroup chair of LEAD Ohio. [5]

Initiatives

In February of 2020, Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections secured initial approval for ballot initiative language from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The proposed initiative contained sweeping left-wing election policies that would have overhauled the election process in the state. The initiative was based on a similar proposal that was approved by voters in Michigan during the 2020 elections. It was announced that the group would need to garner over 440,000 signatures in order to appear on the November 2020 ballot. [6]

The proposed initiative would make several changes to elections in Ohio by amending the Ohio state constitution to “remove the requirement that voters must be registered 30 days prior to an election but maintain that all voters must be registered; require absentee ballots requested by military personnel or voters outside of the U.S. be sent 46 days before the election; automatically register citizens at motor vehicle departments unless the citizen refuses registration via a written statement; allow voter registration at polling locations; and require 28 days of early voting.” [7]in March of 2020, the Ohio Ballot Board voted that the proposed language of the amendment violated state law requiring each ballot question address a single issue and divided the language into four separate ballot questions separately addressing: casting a ballot, voter registration, rights for voters with disabilities, and required post-election audit. The decision would mean the four ballot questions would require nearly 1.8 million signatures to be placed on the ballot. [8]

As of March 2020, Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections had filed an appeal on the Ballot Board’s decision to divide the initiative with the Ohio Supreme Court. [9]

References

  1. Ohio Ballot Board. “Letter Concerning ‘Secure and Fair Elections Amendment.’” Ohio Secretary of State, March 2, 2020. https://www.sos.state.oh.us/globalassets/ballotboard/2020/2020-03-02-ballotboardletter-elections.pdf. ^
  2. “Sixteen Thirty Fund”. Opencorporates. Accessed March 30, 2020. https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_dc/EXTUID_2696217 ^
  3. “Ohio Voting Requirements Initiative (2020)”. Ballotpedia. Accessed March 30, 2020. https://ballotpedia.org/Ohio_Voting_Requirements_Initiative_(2020)#cite_note-Text-2 ^
  4. “Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections Challenge Ballot Board Decision in Ohio Supreme Court and Refile Petitions with Ohio AG”. ACLU Ohio. March 5, 2020. Accessed March 30, 2020.  https://www.acluohio.org/archives/press-releases/ohioans-for-secure-and-fair-elections-challenge-ballot-board-decision-in-ohio-supreme-court-and-refile-petitions-with-ohio-ag ^
  5. “Toni Webb” For Our Future PAC. Accessed March 30, 2020. https://forourfuturepac.org/our-team/toni-webb/ ^
  6. Chow, Andy. “Ohio Civil Liberty Group Wants Constitutional Amendment On Voter Registration”. WOSU Public Media. January 23, 2020. Accessed March 30, 2020. https://radio.wosu.org/post/ohio-civil-liberty-group-wants-constitutional-amendment-voter-registration ^
  7. “Ohio Voting Requirements Initiative (2020)”. Ballotpedia. Accessed March 30, 2020. https://ballotpedia.org/Ohio_Voting_Requirements_Initiative_(2020)#cite_note-Text-2 ^
  8. Chow, Andy. “Ballot Board Splits Voter Rights Amendment Into Four Issues”. WOSU Public Media. March 3, 2020. Accessed March 30, 2020. https://radio.wosu.org/post/ballot-board-splits-voter-rights-amendment-four-issues ^
  9. “Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections Challenge Ballot Board Decision in Ohio Supreme Court and Refile Petitions with Ohio AG”. ACLU Ohio. March 5, 2020. Accessed March 30, 2020.  https://www.acluohio.org/archives/press-releases/ohioans-for-secure-and-fair-elections-challenge-ballot-board-decision-in-ohio-supreme-court-and-refile-petitions-with-ohio-ag ^
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