Get to Know Your State Officials

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Jennifer Brunner wants to help you sort through all those Irishmen on your ballot.
  • Jennifer Brunner wants to help you sort through all those Irishmen on your ballot.

How many times have you looked at your ballot in dismay and said, “I don’t know who any of these Irishmen are.”

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner hopes to solve the problem with a new voter guide that recently went live on her website (www.sos.state.oh.us/). It’s part of an effort to expand the office’s role from encouraging registration to actually motivating you to show up. Plus, it helps combat the old “vote for all the Russos” approach, which isn’t working out so well these days.

Launched two years ago solely for judicial races, the nonpartisan guide has been expanded this year to include all candidates for statewide office, state school board, state legislature, and judicial seats down to the county level. Each candidate is invited to submit a 150-word biography and a link to his or her website.

So, how’s it going so far?

“It’s amazing how we’re having trouble getting candidates to submit information,” says Brunner. Virtually all Supreme Court candidates and statewide office-seekers have responded, but fewer than half of all other candidates have joined in.

There’s no cutoff date for candidates to submit information, Brunner says, though sometime prior to Election Day would be preferable.

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