Linden Neighborhood Conversation

Robin Davis
Director of Media Relations
614.645.2425
rcdavis@columbus.gov

Melanie Crabill
Communications Manager
614.645.5300
mjcrabill@columbus.gov

Media Advisory
News Date: October 22, 2018

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther Proposes City Funding For Nonpartisan Voter Education

Voters will continue to receive nonpartisan information about early voting and the general election on November 6th thanks to funding proposed by Mayor Andrew J. Ginther on Monday. Since 2004, the bipartisan Franklin County Board of Elections has funded important voter education, but the funding was stopped this year because of a partisan tie vote at the board of elections.

“Nonpartisan information about voting is critical to our democracy now more than ever,” said Mayor Ginther. “Rather than engaging in partisan bickering about basic voter education, I am committed to funding nonpartisan information about candidates and issues, as well as basic information about where to vote.”

According to a memorandum from City Attorney Zach Klein, Columbus has the authority as a home rule city to pay for ads promoting nonpartisan early vote and Election Day information. The city’s funding, which goes to Republican and Democratic media firms, will support the same budget and content proposed by the board of elections for 2018. The board unanimously approved the same ad and similar budget in 2016.

Mayor Ginther proposed $280,000 today for production, television, radio and digital media to inform Columbus voters about early voting options. Columbus City Council will take up the emergency legislation tonight at the Council meeting.

“It is baffling to see the Board of Elections fail to provide basic voter education, a cornerstone of their mission for the citizens of Franklin County,” said Council President Shannon Hardin.  “Columbus is stepping up to educate and encourage residents to know their rights and know where they can vote.”

After the board of elections failed to approve funding on a party line vote, Franklin County Commissioners attempted to fund the nonpartisan voter information. They were opposed by the Franklin County Prosecutor, Franklin County Auditor and State Auditor, who alleged the commission lacks the authority to fund the ads.

“Our democracy is stronger when everyone has nonpartisan information about our elections, including information on early and absentee voting options,” said Barb Hykes, president of the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus. ”The League of Women Voters applauds Mayor Ginther and the City of Columbus for funding the same early vote public announcements that voters have received for over a decade.”

To learn more about early vote opportunities in Franklin County, visit vote.franklincountyohio.gov. For statewide information, visit Vote411.org.