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Regional labor group throws support to Strickland

By Doug Livingston Published: January 28, 2016

He may not have the support of Summit County’s Democratic elite, but former Gov. Ted Strickland picked up endorsements from thousands of the workers in one of northeast Ohio’s largest labor groups.

The Tri County Regional Labor Council, a branch of the AFL-CIO representing workers in Portage, Medina and Summit counties, is backing Strickland in his bid to become the next U.S. Senator from Ohio. The former congressman already has received the support of major state unions, including the Ohio Education Association and the United Auto Workers, as well as national and state Democratic notables, from President Bill Clinton, Sens. Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren to the Ohio Democratic Party.

Last week, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, Summit County Executive Russ Pry, County Council President Ilene Shapiro, state Sen. Tom Sawyer and state Rep. Emilia Sykes all came out in support of PG Sittenfeld, a 31-year-old Ivy League graduate and second-term councilman from Cincinnati.

Sittenfeld is running against Strickland, 74, in the March primary. The winner of that contest will face incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman.

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Bill aims to fix law guiding the replacement of independent office holders

By Doug Livingston Published: January 27, 2016

An Ohio senator, following the amicable lead of his Republican colleagues in Stark County, introduced a bill Wednesday that would clear up who fills partisan seats vacated by elected officials who claim no party status.

Sen. Scott Oelslager, R-North Canton, introduced the legislation after former Stark County Commissioner Tom Bernabei, who dropped the “D” next to his name while in office, stepped down this month after winning the Canton mayor’s race in the fall as an independent.

Bernabei’s disaffiliation with the Democratic Party created a unique situation: Ohio law does not specifically detail which party gets to fill county seats vacated by independents.

“That’s been in the legislature since 1985,” Oelslager said. “This is the first time that I’ve seen it. So this is a very unique situation that we’re trying to clarify.”

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Northeast Ohio's Young Republicans to gather in Akron, Aurora

By Doug Livingston Published: January 27, 2016

Young Republican across northeast Ohio will gather in the next week for annual kick-off meetings in Akron and Aurora.

The Summit County chapter of Young Republicans will host “like-minded” millennials (ages 18 to 35) at the conservative group’s satellite office (1596 W. Market St.) in Akron at 6 p.m. Thursday. Those interested in attending should RSVP with Debbie Walsh at For more information, contact Alex Pavloff at 330-212-7580 or Travis Johns at 330-432-4250.

Similarly, the Portage-Trumbull Young Republicans will meet Feb. 1, the night of the first presidential primary vote in Iowa. The group will host guest speaker Tyler Duvelius, a director with the Christian Coalition of Ohio. For more information or to RSVP, contact Tom O'Neill at 330-307-9871 or

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Husted's staff schedules meetings with area residents

By Doug Livingston Published: January 27, 2016

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has announced February regional office hours for local residents interested in learning more about Ohio’s voting process and other duties performed by the elections chief.


Voters in Portage, Medina and Stark counties may speak with Husted’s regional representatives at Jackson Township Branch Library in Ravenna on Feb. 1 from 2 to 4 p.m., at Kate Love Simpson Morgan County Library in Medina on Feb. 11 from 9 to 11 a.m. and at Dover Public Library in Massillon on Feb. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m.


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Northeast Ohio lawmakers honored for safeguarding voters’ rights

By Doug Livingston Published: January 14, 2016

A gathering of Ohio’s elections officials, as they do every year, honored a Republican and a Democrat for their work protecting voters’ rights and reforming the state’s elections system.

The Ohio Association of Elections Officials named Sen. Frank LaRose, a Copley Republican, and Rep. Dan Ramos, a Berea Democrat, as co-recipients of 2015  Legislator of the Year awards, respectively named after Republican Robert E. Hughes and Democrat Jack Wolfe.

Ramos and LaRose, each serving since 2011, accepted the awards during an annual conference for elections officials in Columbus on Thursday.

“I consider protecting our most sacred fundamental freedom in America a paramount responsibility of the legislature,” Ramos said. “And I am honored to work alongside our state elections officials to ensure that every Ohioan has unfettered access to our democracy and a guarantee that their vote will be counted.”

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Polls: Sanders cuts deep into Clinton lead as Trump still leads Ohio

By Doug Livingston Published: January 14, 2016

Several January polls show Sen. Bernie Sanders gaining ground, even overtaking former Sen. Hillary Clinton, in early primary states.

Clinton’s lead in Iowa, the first state to caucus on Feb. 1, had shrunk from 12.5 points on Jan. 1 to just 0.2 points by Jan. 12. Clinton has reclaimed some of the lost ground, now sitting 4 points ahead, according to Real Clear Politics, which averages major polls.

At least three major polls conducted this year in Iowa, including a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, show Sanders ahead by as much as 5 points.

Clinton may hold a more commanding lead in New Hampshire, but her numbers are slipping as support surges for Sanders. The Granite State will follow Iowa in the presidential primary lineup on Feb. 9.

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State elections website gets facelift for visually impaired users

By Doug Livingston Published: January 13, 2016

Ohio’s main elections website is getting a facelift for visually impaired voters. The most noticeable difference: artistic, color photographs of Jon Husted with the backgrounds set to black and white.

In a year when many will look to Ohio for a pivotal presidential primary in March and an ever important swing state election in November, Husted’s office is upgrading the entire website so that software designed to read text aloud can interact with information embedded on the page.

“We haven’t announced it yet. We’re still testing it. The reason behind that is because we have been working for a year to try to make the website capable of being used by people who are visually impaired.”

Eck said the secretary’s technology staff are working diligently to ensure in a critical year that the website’s functionality, including new links in a slightly altered layout, is not compromised. The site ( will house real-time, interactive elections results for state, local and national races.

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Did your vote count?

By Doug Livingston Published: January 13, 2016

Eight-hundred and sixty-one absentee ballots missed the cut in November’s general election because they arrived late and without postmarks.

If you’re wondering if your vote counted, there’s two ways to tell: call the Summit County Board of Elections at 330-643-5200 or check the status of your mail-in ballot online at

Either way you chose to take, let us know what you find out by emailing or 330-996-3792 or by connecting on twitter with @DougLivingstonABJ.

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Updated: Two area state reps to speak at Summit County Progressive Democrats meeting

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: January 4, 2016

Two area state representatives will speak at the Summit County Progressive Democrats meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12.

State Reps. Greta Johnson and Emilia Sykes will give an update on what's happening at the Statehouse, issues that are expected to arise in the next session and new legislation that is in the works.

Both are Democrats from Akron.

The meeting will be in Meeting Room 2 of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, 60 S. High St. in Akron.

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