Archive for Ohio

E-Check’s a goner

At least outside of Northeast Ohio. The budget Gov. Taft signs today will eliminate the E-Check program in southwest Ohio. Only 7 northeastern counties will continue the E-Check program and those tests will be paid for by the government, drivers will no longer have to cough up $19.50 to get their car tested.

The two-year state budget Gov. Bob Taft will sign today, in a ceremony at the Rack Processing Co. in Moraine, contains a provision that would prohibit any new contracts in the 81 counties not required to have E-Check, said state Sen. Steve Austria, R-Beavercreek.

Austria, a longtime E-Check critic who has been pushed the issue since 1998, said 14 counties should not have to carry the responsibility of improving air quality for the entire state, and that the E-Check program is too invasive.
“I have always felt that the E-Check program was ineffective and unfair to many Ohioans,” Austria said.
DDN

One more example of how politicians don’t get the internet

An Ohio law scheduled to go into effect May 2nd would require every Ohioan who sells on eBay to become a licensed auctioneer. That would require $200, posting a $50,000 bond, a one-year apprenticeship to an auctioneer and calling bids in 12 auctions and failure to do so could lead to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.
The primary author, Larry Mumper, says the law will be changed to exempt individuals.
Let’s assume for a second that eBay sellers from Ohio need to be regulated. To think that the proper way to do that is to make them licensed auctioneers shows a profound lack of understanding of what eBay is. There is really pretty much nothing a “real world” auctioneer could teach that would be of much use on eBay. eBay itself does what the auctioneer would do. If they really feel they need to regulate these people then it needs to be as if they’re a small business, not as if they’re auctioneers.

More on E-check

The Equirer and the Post both have anti-E-check editorials today.
The Enquirer’s offers this warning:

Some E-Check haters may now be leery: Be careful what you ask for. Costs of alternatives are likely to be passed through to consumers in other ways. Ohio EPA says cleaner-burning fuels would cost motorists about 3 cents a gallon more – around $30 a year for the average driver.
Cincinnati Enquirer

Fine. At least that way my money will go towards cleaning the air. As it currently is, 97% of tests are simply $19.50 charges that result in no difference in air quality.

Talk like this will get you my support every time

“I am strongly opposed to the E-Check system we have now. I think it’s unfair,” said state Sen. Steve Austria, R-Beavercreek. “We need to see evidence that this is actually working and having an impact on our environment.”
Other legislators are even more direct.
“This is the year to eliminate E-Check and find another way to deal with this issue. I understand we’re going to have to do something to keep the Feds happy, but let’s find the least invasive, least expensive, least impacting method,” said state Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chesterland, a lawyer who once sued the state over E-Check and lost.
Dayton Daily News

There’s absolutely no reason that I should be forced to pay $20 every 2 years just for somebody to make sure that the Check Engine light on my ’98 Lumina isn’t on.

Ohio may ban traffic cameras

State Rep. James T. Raussen will introduce a bill Thursday banning the cameras, saying Cincinnati’s moving too fast to install them without studying their safety effects first.
“Everyone’s catching camera fever, and I don’t think we’ve had enough debate on this to go that route yet,” the Springdale Republican said.
If the Rausen bill passes, Ohio would be one of four states to ban the cameras. New Jersey, Wisconsin and Utah are already on that list, and state lawmakers in several other states are considering similar legislation.
Cincinnati Enquirer

If the cameras were really there to improve safety that would be one thing, but let’s be honest here. The real motive to putting these cameras up is that they make the government money.

Hey, the honesty’s actually kinda refreshing

Middletown’s tax superintendent has been suspended w/o pay for a week for having some fun with the city’s tax filing instructions. Among the lines added to the forms was “If we can tax it, we will”.

Video of Alice Robie Resnick’s DUI arrest

The Middletown Journal has the video of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick’s DUI arrest.
“I’ve always thought that a Supreme Court Justice should have a Highway Patrolman driving them,

Were machines in the November election allocated unevenly?

Not in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga County according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

[A] Plain Dealer analysis shows that, in Cuyahoga County at least, the elections board distributed machines equally to city and suburban polling locations.
The long lines at some locations appear to be more the result of timing, new voters and overwhelmed poll workers, not necessarily a shortage of machines.
Before the Nov. 2 election, the elections board allotted each Cleveland precinct one machine for every 117 registered voters within its boundaries – the same ratio of machines that suburban precincts received.
In other words, the more registered voters a particular precinct had, the more machines it received, regardless of where that precinct was.
And in the end, the busiest precincts – when measured by the number of ballots cast per machine – were actually in the suburbs, not Cleveland, according to a Plain Dealer analysis of records from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
Countywide, voters cast an average of nearly 71 ballots on each of the county’s 8,000 machines. In Cleveland alone, voters cast an average of 62 ballots per machine. In the suburbs, the average was 74.
Cleveland Plain Dealer

And likewise, the Columbus Dispatch reported that in Franklin County the busiest precincts were the suburban ones.

In fact, many polling places in inner-city neighborhoods had fewer voting machines than during the last presidential election.
Even so, the busiest places to vote

Whah?

The Dayton Daily News has a story on the state abandoning electronic voting for optical scan ballots. For the most part the story’s pretty typical. Blackwell says only optical scan machines can be used… Counties X, Y, and Z were planning to switch from one system to electronic systems… Board of Elections Directors were surprised by the decision… and so on…
But it’s the very first line in the article that’s mind-boggling:

Ohio voting is poised to enter the 19th century.

HUH?!
How is upgrading to optical scan ballots entering the 19th century?
Unless my knowledge of history is very wrong, Abraham Lincoln never filled out a Scantron form. General Custer didn’t require a #2 pencil to fill in the ovals at West Point. Ballots are being optically read and tallied by a computer, this is not 19th century technology here!

Ohio dumps electronic voting

Electronic voting is out and optical scan voting is in here in Ohio.
Since the General Assembly had already votd to require a paper trail for electronic voting machinss so the decision is really a money one and not a vote verification one. Either way they won’t be depending on computers for the vote totals. The money Ohio has received from the feds can cover the cost of optical machines but not the more expensive electronic machines.
I like this decision. I’ve never been too worked up over the potential fraud and verification problems of electronic voting but it’s always seemed like overkill to me. So long as it can be properly recounted and there aren’t problems like chads falling out of the ballots with handling I’m all for it.
–Addendum–
Michael Meckler has some thoughts on the issue.