Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Aug. 7
When a law is clearly deficient constitutionally, it shouldn't be defended needlessly. Nor should picayune matters where there is almost zero chance of prevailing, such as the award of legal fees, be pursued to the ends of the possible legal terrain. Yet Republican officials in Ohio— motivated apparently by ideological considerations, rather than legal or practical ones —keep sticking taxpayers with legal fees racked up in voting-related lawsuits that the state should drop or settle.
This was underscored in a ruling last week by the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a lower court's order to Ohio to pay legal fees topping $2 million. (The appellate court said the lawyers' bill should be recalculated, but it's expected to clock in at about $2.5 million, since, as long as the appeals go on, the legal fees will continue to climb.)
The case at issue involves successful legal challenges to Ohio's provisional balloting law, and is among many challenges spawned during what the court called "the turbulent saga of Ohio's provisional voting regime." It began in 2006 when the General Assembly, voting along party lines (Republicans for, Democrats against), passed an omnibus election law (Amended Substitute House Bill 3) sponsored by future Republican State Chair Kevin DeWine...
The Marietta Times, Aug. 5
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory that pregnant women should stay out of a section of Miami is not the most disturbing news about the Zika virus this week.
CDC officials' warning was bad enough, to be sure. The agency said an outbreak of 14 cases of Zika in Miami's Wynwood district was the reason for its advisory. Zika can cause birth defects.
Perhaps even more unsettling was the CDC's tally showing more than 1,650 cases of Zika have been reported in the United States. Only in Florida has the disease been transmitted by mosquitoes. Other U.S. cases involve people who have traveled to Zika-ridden areas of the world or have contracted the disease by having sex with others infected.
But there is a catch to all that: Zika can be picked up by certain mosquitoes who bite people already infected. Then, the bugs can spread it to new victims.
That could mean that, at least in some areas, the growth of Zika could be exponential. And that means federal officials should make finding a vaccine and a cure for Zika a priority.
The Akron Beacon Journal, Aug. 8
Republicans in charge at the Statehouse can't seem to drop the idea of requiring photo identification at the polls. Despite sound counsel from Jon Husted, a fellow Republican and secretary of state, that such a measure would do little to combat fraud while blocking the ballots of legally registered voters, a photo ID bill remains in committee in the Ohio House.
If Republican lawmakers won't listen to Husted, they would do well to pay attention to recent federal court decisions that have gone against restrictive voting laws. Taken together, the decisions signal a strong and growing judicial consensus that photo ID laws are solutions in search of a problem.
Last week, a federal judge in North Dakota barred the state from enforcing a strict voter identification law because it may disenfranchise Native American voters. As in other recent cases, the North Dakota law was passed by a Republican-dominated legislature that said stronger means were needed to combat voter fraud...
The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Aug. 6
Few can dispute that "Pokemon Go", the downloadable mobile app game of search and destroy, has jettisoned into an international gaming sensation.
Pokemania has soared to amazing heights in the Mahoning Valley, the nation and most of our interconnected world. The app, based on the popular 1990s game and introduced one month ago, has been downloaded more than 100 million times, exceeding the venerable Twitter and Facebook.
Tony DeAscentis, CEO of Ving, a communications-platform company at the Youngstown Business Incubator, succinctly summarized the phenom when speaking from Atlanta recently: "People are playing it here. People are playing it in New York. People are playing it in Youngstown. People are playing it everywhere. It's crazy— crazy fun."
One nugget of advice to the growing hordes of Pokemon— or pocket monster —hunters: Enjoy your game, but don't go too crazy.
Toward that end, let us offer up a few additional game rules. First, play safely. Because the game requires physical contact with the outside world to win, the hazards of a real-world playing field cannot be overlooked...