Voters First Ohio, the union front group working to replace Ohio’s political map-making process, is advertising a sharply left-leaning list of 22 campaign endorsements on its website. Although Voters First has maintained since this spring that the effort involves “a coalition of leading non-partisan organizations in Ohio,” a full endorsement list was not released for months.
Of the 22 Voters First Ohio endorsements listed at publication, two are large labor unions: the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and AFL-CIO. Another endorsement comes from AFL-CIO’s Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) Ohio.
The president of OEA, which is the largest player in Ohio Voice, the chief donor to We Are Ohio, and a key backer of ProgressOhio, was recently honored as “Democrat of the Year” by the Ohio Democratic Party.
Former ACORN partner America Votes, which is financed by national labor unions and liberal organizations including MoveOn.org, is another Voters First endorser.
Gay marriage lobbying group Equality Ohio, abortion lobbying group NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, and leading abortion provider Planned Parenthood have endorsed Voters First.
Far-left environmentalist groups the Ohio Green Party and the Ohio chapter of the Sierra Club have endorsed Voters First, as well.
Voters First Ohio has also capitalized on “progressive” efforts to co-opt religious groups for the promotion of big government policies promising “social justice.” The Voters First campaign is endorsed by liberal clergy organizations “We Believe Ohio” and the Ohio Council of Churches.
Support for Voters First from groups outside the traditional progressive/union orbit has been sparse.
When Voters First posted a map of petition offices online in May and updated the map in June, Media Trackers reported that every Voters First petition location except ProgressOhio headquarters was a union hall.
When campaign finance reports were released at the end of July, Media Trackers was first to report that 94 percent of Voters First funding through June came directly from labor unions. Even traditional media have criticized the dishonest union campaign, with an August 4 Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial proclaiming, “Voters First’s veneer of nonpartisanship has been shredded.”
“Proponents of the Voters First proposal, whose backing comes overwhelmingly from labor and Democrats, will have a hard time making a case that the measure is even bipartisan, never mind nonpartisan,” the Columbus Dispatch editorial board wrote on August 12.