COLUMBUS, Ohio – Elected officials would be banned from using taxpayer funds to mail out certain election materials before an election that contain their name, the official logo of the office held, letterhead or digital signature on the mailing, under a bill introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives Monday.
The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Michael Stinziano, a Columbus Democrat
“This bill does not diminish nor discourage the mailing of election materials. Indeed anything we can do to promote our election system and the various ways in which to participate in our elections is immensely valuable,” said Stinziano, a former Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections.
“This bill would simply prevent such mailings from serving as a taxpayer-funded political advertisement for a political candidate on an upcoming ballot,” Stinziano said.
“There is no Republican or Democratic way to administer an election, but given recent changes to elections law, the specter of partisans trying to game the system has been exacerbated,” said Stinziano, an elections attorney who also worked previously in the Ohio Secretary of State’s office under former Secretary Jennifer Brunner.
Recent changes to state law are allowing partisanly-elected state officials to use taxpayer-funded mailings to promote an upcoming election as well as themselves with no checks or balances.
The bill will be assigned to a standing House committee for further study.