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League of Women Voters declares against Issue 3


With elections fast approaching, Ohio political organizations have begun stating their positions on hot-button topics appearing on the November ballot.

The League of Women Voters is no exception.

The league, an organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, stands neutral in regard to Issue 2 and the potential repeal of former Senate Bill 5 and has declared its opposition to Issue 3, which deals with purchasing a minimum amount of health insurance.

The neutral stances on many of the popular issues, such as Issue 2, originate from the league’s extensive research process, said Ann Henkener of the league’s Columbus office.

“We have not studied public-employee collective bargaining, so we have not looked into that issue to determine our position” Henkener said, adding studies generally take two years to complete.

In addition, the organization stands in opposition of Issue 3, which seeks to exempt Ohioans from a federal law passed in 2010: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The act would require Ohioans to purchase a minimum amount of health insurance. The League of Women Voters of the U.S. adopted a position in support of a basic level of affordable, accessible, quality care for all U.S. residents, and the league’s Ohio branch believes Issue 3 will undermine these efforts, according to a news release.

The league also stands neutral on Issue 1, a proposed constitutional amendment to change the age at which a judge can be elected, increasing the age from 70 to 75.

“State and national (branches of the league) have established positions in different areas,” said Athens County league Co-President Debbie Schmieding, in regards to determining positions. “These are determined through a study and then a consensus process.”

The process begins when local chapters produce grassroots movements to have certain issues investigated and voted upon. Issues raised by chapters are investigated by study commissions and subsequently voted upon by the state board.

Each of the 33 Ohio chapters is represented at the state level in those decisions.

“(The public) cares about getting the league’s information,” Henkener said, adding that the league takes positions for the main purpose of informing voters.

Though the league is a nonpartisan political organization, they often do stand for one side or another on the more contentious debates prior to an election, excluding showing support for a particular candidate, Schmieding said.

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