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The general election of 2009 had its overhaul of Cuyahoga County government and a constitutional amendment allowing casinos. But it's tough to come up with any off-year election in Ohio history that can compare with this year when it comes to spending and attention.

The reason is simple: Issue 2. Voters will decide whether to overturn limits passed by Republican lawmakers on public employee unions. More than $30 million is being spent on Issue 2. And nationally, it's being watched closely for signs of the political times. But Ohio voters are deciding other issues as well, including hundreds of school levies, mayoral races in Akron and Canton and a state constitutional amendment that may affect healthcare.


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Akron schools among many trying to head off deficit
The Senate Bill 5 issue being on the November ballot may impact voter turnout and that could make a difference for school levies

Schools districts looking for more money have not done well at the polls in Ohio lately. Only last week voters across the state turned down 17 of 19 additional operating levies. But, upwards of 200 districts may have tax issues on the November ballot anyway.  Akron city schools will be among them. WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports that school leaders in northeast Ohio’s second largest city are saying: financially there’s just no choice.
(more )
Ohio Issue 3 opponents stress popular parts of health-care overhaul
Campaign starts to kick in on state constitutional amendment to block federal health-care program

A new poll says Ohioans – nearly 2-to-1 – oppose the national mandate that everyone must have health insurance. So in their fight against a state constitutional amendment that would try to block that mandate, supporters of the national healthcare overhaul are pointing to other, more popular aspects – that they say the amendment would also block. Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen reports.
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Ballot Issue 3 backed by anti-abortion activist group
Ohio Right to Life Society is now supporting the ballot issue amendment to exempt Ohioans from having to carry health insurance

The Ohio Right to Life Society has just endorsed state issue 3. That’s the proposed constitutional amendment that proclaims Ohioans are exempt from the federal requirement that everyone must have health insurance. As statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen reports, the endorsement means that abortion is now an issue in the debate over the health care proposal.
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Five candidates vie for Mayor of Akron
A 24-year incumbent, a 24-year veteran of local politics, and a political novice await the judgement of voters in the Democratic primary

Voters in Akron decide today if one of the nation’s longest-serving mayors will be nominated for a seventh term; or if they want to see new leadership for northeast Ohio’s second largest city. WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports
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A four-way debate amps up the Canton Mayoral election
For decades the race for Mayor in Canton has attracted national attention from political observers and presidential election predictors.

Political campaigns this fall are focusing on one thing: jobs. But safety also is a rising concern in Northeast Ohio cities. And both issues took center stage at the storied old Palace Theater during a mayoral debate in downtown Canton. WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports on the four-man contest.
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On the Party Lines - Ohio's 2011 Ballot Battles
An in-depth look at the three statewide issues for the 2011 November election

Here are the arguments for and against each issue on November 2011 election ballot and what they could mean to you.

Issue 1: Part II - 27:43 to the end
Issue 2: All of Part I and Part II - 0:00 through 14:39
Issue 3: Part II - 14:40 through  27:42
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Study shows public employees have made concessions
A new study says public labor unions have made concessions over the past three years, but critics say it isn't enough

Ohioans are now voting on whether to limit the bargaining power of public employee unions. That’s the thrust of state issue 2, the referendum on a new law that majority republicans in the legislature approved. Workers, unions, and their allies are fighting back. They say government workers have already made plenty of concessions without this new law in place. The unions have just released a study that quantifies those concessions.
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SB5 would have huge impact on higher education
Senate Bill 5, which is also Issue 2 on the ballot, would eliminate college faculty unions

Senate Bill 5 – that’s issue 2 on the voting November ballots – would severely limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees in Ohio. But StateImpact Ohio’s Ida Lieszkovszky reports its biggest impact is the least talked about: eliminating college faculty unions.
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Both sides of Issue 2 campaign are spending big
Financial reports show campaigns are spending heavily to sway votes for and against the collective bargaining law

Campaign finance reports have been filed by both sides in the battle over Ohio’s new collective bargaining law. Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen reports both sides have spent massive amounts of money.
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A closer look at Issue 2 - Part I
Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen looks at the controversial collective bargaining law

Some call it a common-sense law to control government costs and help over-burdened taxpayers. Others call it an attack on public employees, unions and the whole middle class. Next Tuesday, Ohio voters will either endorse or overturn the collective bargaining law that Republicans pushed through the state Legislature last spring. Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen begins a two-part series today on the bitter debate over state Issue 2.
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School leaders call voter approval critical
Last year, Akron's school district was rated first in the state in administrative efficiency by an independent study.  And Canton tied for second.

There are nearly ninety school issues on the November ballot in northeast Ohio.  Including levies in two of the region’s largest urban districts.  The city schools in Akron and Canton have a lot in common, including awards for their administrative cost efficiency, and looming budget deficits.  WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports.
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A closer look at Issue 2 - Part II
Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen wraps up his look at the controversial collective bargaining law

Senate Bill 5—the law that slashes the negotiating power of public unions—has sparked one of the most bitter debates in Ohio history. Voters can now endorse or kill it when they vote on State Issue 2. The final part in the series wraps up the pro and con arguments on some of the law’s many provisions.
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Kasich says its an uphill battle
Rallying support for ISSUE 2, the governor traveled to two northeast Ohio locations, Interdependence and Akron

  Governor John Kasich calls ISSUE2 a job creation measure.  He says its limits on public employee unions will make government less costly and that will attract businesses to Ohio.  But, at a rally of supporters in Independence Thursday, the governor heard protesters call it something else.  WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports.
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In-person early voting ends Friday
Ohioans looking to vote early only have a few hours left to cast their ballots at their local board of elections

Voters have until 6 p.m. tonight if they want to vote early and in person. It’s a departure from the last five years when people looking to avoid long lines on Election Day could vote on the weekend and Monday before the election.  Jeanette Mullane is the director for Stark County’s Board of Elections. She says her county has been reaching out for weeks to let voters know about the change. And she says there will be people in the office all weekend.
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Final push for Issue 2
Gov. Kasich, teachers, firefighters were out stumping for -- and against -- Issue 2 over the weekend

More than 2 million dollars has been poured into ads for and against Issue 2 in the last days leading up to tomorrow’s election. But, as WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports, the final get-out-the-vote effort has a far more personal touch.
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Fact checking ads for SB5
Voters find plenty of emotion, little concrete information

Somewhere around 30 million dollars is going into the battle over state Issue 2 – much of it for TV ads and fliers. Opponents hope on Tuesday to overturn SB 5, the law Republicans passed this spring to limit public employee collective bargaining. As StateImpact Ohio’s Ida Lieszkovszky reports, voters looking to the ads to help with their decision are finding plenty of emotion, but little concrete information... in part because it’s hard to predict what the law would do.
(more )
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