Home                    Health Care Amendment                     Redistricting Amendment

Health Care and Redistricting Reform by Ohio Constitutional Amendment

Draft Campaign Plan

Bill Conner (updated 08/03/15)


This paper proceeds with a preliminary draft plan for an Ohio Constitutional Amendment to be on the ballot in November 2015.  (The 2015 opportunity having passed, the schedule for a 2017 or 2019 effort would be similar.)  This plan is written for the Health Care Amendment but all of its elements apply equally to a redistricting amendment in 2015.  Indeed, the petitions for both amendments could be carried by the same activists simultaneously.  


Draft Schedule of Events

(would be similar for a 2017 or 2019 effort.)

As reflected in these schedules, the petition signatures must be turned in 125 days before the election (July 1, 2015).  Finalizing the amendment and building the organization would take place in a short 3 months starting in April 2014. That is followed by a one year period for petition signature gathering.  The petition effort should be planned as an important part of the campaign to pass our amendment.  The signature requirement is 10% of the number of votes in the race for governor in 2014.  (Based on the 2010 election, 386,000 signatures are currently required for an amendment.)  But, we should set a goal of 2 million signatures.  The successful SB5 repeal got 1.3 million signatures in a successful use of that strategy.  The GOP showed us in the 2012 redistricting amendment failure that getting to the voters early can win the election.  We need to get to as many voters as possible in the petition effort – reinforced by our public information effort which should be active from July 2013 to November 2015.

The petition efforts will parallel the 2014 candidate campaigns from July through October.  We can seek to have the amendments included in candidate and issues forums during that campaign.  We can have signs advertising our issues (and the petitions) in the month prior to the November 2014 election. But, we will have a year after that election to finish making our case with the voters.

We should benefit from lessons learned in the unsuccessful redistricting amendment of 2012 (Issue 2) and add factors to insure our success.

  1. The amendments must be short, concise and understood by the voters.  The opponents will do whatever they can to confuse the voters.  Unnecessary verbiage will be fuel for their mischief.
  2. In control of the ballot board, SOS Husted purposely placed confusing language on the ballot. We can hope that the 2014 election will give us a SOS who will treat our amendment fairly.   
  3. The campaign must be continuous.  We cannot afford to coast after the petition effort as happened with the 2012 Issue 2 campaign.
  4. In 2012, a Presidential election year, the voter turnout was high and many were not familiar with Issue 2.  In 2015, an odd year election, the turnout will be low and, if we run strong campaigns, virtually all of the voters will be familiar with our issues.



It would be great to have the support of both Democrats and Republicans in this campaign.  We know that Democratic support will be stronger.  We should try to get support from organizations which may traditionally lean Republican - Farm Bureau, Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, Catholic Church (recently Republican leaning), etc.  We might get the endorsement of some prominent Republicans. 

Organizational Support

We need the major organizations that were involved in the SB 5, HB 194, HB 319, and Redistricting amendment campaigns.  We need their people in the field, their money, their vote draw, and their expertise.  We activists and the non-public employee unions answered the call with SB 5 and stood up for the teachers, police, firefighters, and other public employees.  It is their time to stand up for their own welfare and that of all of the citizens of Ohio.  They haven't been strong on the issues after SB 5. 

We need to actively recruit other reputable supporting organizations from a wide variety of areas.  They can be civic organizations, medical professionals, professional organizations (economists for example), fraternal, religious, etc.  We want their public endorsement, funding, member participation, etc.

This is a list (probably incomplete) of organizations which supported the Voters First in the redistricting amendment:

ACT Ohio, ACTION OHIO Coalition For Battered Women, AFL-CIO, Alliance for Retired Americans in Ohio, America Votes, American Association of University Women, Applied Information Resources, Central Oho Democratic Women’s Caucus,  Children’s Defense Fund, Coalition on Homelessness and Housing In Ohio, Common Cause Ohio, Environmental Health Watch, EqualityOhio, Independent Ohio, League of Women, Voters of Ohio, Miami Valley Voter Protection Coalition, NAACP Ohio Chapter, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, National Organization of Women, Ohio Chapter, Ohio Citizen Action, Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors, Ohio Council of Churches, Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus, Ohio Education Association, Ohio Green Party, Ohio Libertarian Party, Ohio NOW Education & Legal Fund, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Ohio Voice, Organize! Ohio, Planned Parenthood, ProgressOhio, SEIU 1199, Sierra Club Ohio Chapter, Summit County Progressive Democrats, Toledo Area Jobs with Justice and Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition, Upper Arlington Progressive Action, We Are Ohio, We Believe Ohio, Working America, Worthington Area Democratic Club

We could get the support of virtually all of them and many more.  Organizations like MoveOn, PFAW, Daily Kos, Public Citizen, IBEW, Laborers Union, Teamsters, IUE, Farmers Union, every county Democratic Party, PNHP, nurses associations, and scores more can be added to our list.  We should go after other organizations which are not traditionally progressive – Farm Bureau, Rotaries, Chambers of Commerce, fraternal organizations, Baptists, etc. 

Petition Drive

The required number of valid signatures is 10% of the 2014 governors vote for 2015 (386,000 based on the 2010 governors vote.  But, the petition signature drives should be planned as the most important part of the campaigns to pass the amendments. Our goal should be at least 2 million.  With the 2012 redistricting amendment, the Republicans showed us that it is important to get out early to make the first impression on the voters.  We can and should do that with the petitions.  We should take a year or more for petitions, getting a full schedule of festivals, parades, organizational conventions, and other events. While getting signatures, we should get as many phone numbers and email addresses as possible to use in the GOTV effort.

Here is an incomplete list of petition opportunities we should pursue:

Door to door - We should track the door to door efforts by precinct.  We may be able to get 20% of precincts covered by Democratic precinct captains.  A good method is to leave literature at every door and then start with the petitions a few days later.  Robo calls could also be used to prepare for petitions.

Festivals  -  Sitting in the back of a booth with the literature on the table doesn't do much.  Our volunteers need to be more aggressive.  It is good to also have public services like voter registration, promoting local issues, ...  Walking a festival like the Yellow Springs Street Fair or the Circleville Pumpkin Show can be successful. 

Shopping Center Parking lots - I've never done that but hear it can be successful

Sports Events - on the outside.  I've never been asked to leave a high school sports event and have worked many.  Ticket lines for a big event are another opportunity.

Outside of Retail Stores - As a candidate, I have done it with success sometimes and have been ordered off the property other times.  It is best to choose stores which have employee unions and to stand by the Out door.

Restaurants - I’ve done restaurants successfully (McDonalds breakfast groups tend to be friendly) but I've also had some bad experiences.

Other - Anywhere a crowd gathers might be an opportunity.

Public Education

Public knowledge of amendment care will make or break our chances of passing it.  It will be integrated with the petition and fund raising efforts.   

Public Education – Presentations

We should develop a variety of presentations which can be used by our activists in all parts of the state. Presentations should be developed for different audiences: urban, rural, business, progressives, conservatives, religious (left and right), etc.  Movies such as The HealthCare Movie and Sick Around the World, can be an introduction to health care needs.  And, we should develop videos which go into the specifics of our amendments. The presenting activists should be well prepared to answer questions.

We should seek a wide variety of audiences:  Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, Farm Bureau, unions, women’s groups, Eagles, Elks, K of P, Odd Fellows, County Dem Parties, (Republicans if possible), etc.

Public Education- Literature

Always make sure it shows a union label.  The best source I have found is HotCards.com.  The prices are usually (but not always) the best and the product and services are excellent.  Shop around.  We should put a lot of effort in getting the best content and design.  Let a lot of people review it and make helpful suggestions.  Try out samples on people who are representative of the target audience.  Buy in quantities of 50,000 or more to get the best price.


Public Education - Newspaper Ads

Rates and conditions vary greatly beyond the size-of-circulation factor.  I have gotten a half page full color ad on the front page of the Xenia, Fairborn, Beavercreek, and Sugar Creek newspapers (12,000 circulation) for a total of $300.  The same newspapers charged 10.5 cents to print and insert each 8 1/2 x 11 two sided full color sheet.  But, the Dayton Daily did the same kind of insert for 5.5 cents each.  So, shop around and ask for special consideration.  Get to be best friends (and make them supporters) with the people who sell the ads - you'll get the first call when a special opportunity comes along.

Public Education – Press Releases to Smaller Newspapers

A press release is the form for sending a story to a newspaper.  Just about anything can be a newsworthy event for the smaller newspapers.  They typically have few, if any, paid reporters and count on free sources for stories – like us.  Get to know the editor.  Get him or her to believe in our cause.  Buying ads in the newspaper will improve the chances of free articles being printed.  They're trying to fill space, so always send a picture with the release.  If they've got a lot of space to fill, they'll print the picture and your story will attract more attention.  Write the release well, such that it is ready to print.  If the editor knows that you supply good releases, he or she will read an email from you first.  Know that they can’t print your releases every week because they can’t afford to appear to be a promoter of a campaign.

Public Education – Small Newspaper Opinion Articles

Some small newspapers have regular (typically unpaid or low paid) columnists.  They can be contacted directly and encouraged to write about the amendment.  A progressive columnist will likely write favorably.  A right wing columnist will more likely write unfavorably and it is best to not stir them up.  If you are a good writer, consider becoming a regular columnist.

Letters to the editor can be used to advantage.  We should develop a list of people who will submit these articles and supply them information.  It is important that such letters are accurate, well written, and make the important points rather than go off on irrelevant tangents – shorter is usually better.  It is best to strike repeatedly on the important central arguments in favor of the Single Payer amendment.

Public Education – Larger Newspapers

Larger newspapers have paid reporters and most (no longer all) have editors who write opinion pieces.  It is important to establish relationships with reporters and editors.  Send them concise well written news emails supporting the SP amendment.  Such emails can be written around a particular news event but should include the basic SP amendment arguments.

Public Education - Cable TV

Candidate forums are also issue forums.  Many of them are broadcast repeatedly on cable TV.   Our amendment will be included when it is going to be on the ballot.  We should press to be included on these forums in the year before our issue is on the ballot when our petition is being circulated (2014 for a 2015 amendment vote).  Go to the forum organizer and be persuasive.  It will help if the person running the forum believes in our cause.

We can promote and participate in discussion forums which cover health care delivery.  Universities are usually open to hosting these forums.  Encourage TV and radio stations to sponsor them.

Public Education - TV News

Create or take advantage of newsworthy events.  This could be coverage of public events related to health care in general or the amendment specifically.  We should make sure that leaders of rallies or attendees of other events, who might be interviewed, are prepared to present cohesive arguments for  the amendment (repeating the same good argument an unlimited number of times is effective). We need an effective slogan which we repeat until every voter has heard it at least 100 times – just a small overstatement.  We can try to get TV public forum shows to have health care delivery as a subject and participate in them.

Public Education – Parades

We should have an entry in every parade.  An inexpensive campaign parade entry is a decorated pickup truck with 4x8 ft signs on each side.  We can have full color 4x8 signs made for $20 -$25 each in state wide quantity of 200 or more.  The pickup must have an 8 foot bed (and absolutely must be American brand if we want to keep union support).  Each parade crew should be a minimum of five people (driver and 2 to hand out literature on each side.

Public Education – Festivals

See description under petitions

Public Education – Signs

Yard signs in yards can be an important part of the campaign.  They show the commitment of the persons in whose yard they are placed.  They can be in yards for an unlimited period.  Our objective should be to have many thousands of signs in yards for a year or more before the election.  A yard sign costs a dollar or less in quantities of 5,000 or greater.  A buy of 5,000 signs would be a good specific ask for a wealthy donor (or group of donors).  It is good to ask for a donation of $5 as a sign is given out.  A required donation discourages opponents from taking a sign with the intent of trashing it. (If they do anyway, we’ll have the money for 5 more signs.)

Yard signs can be placed in public locations in the 30 days prior to the election.  Larger signs, primarily 4x8 ft, can be placed on major highway locations.


Public Education – Web Site

This will be a very inexpensive part of the effort.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  The primary purpose is to present a well-organized detailed description of our amendment, and the campaign.  It can be used to help recruit activists, advertise events, and solicit funding.


Public Education – Social Media

This needs to be an area of special inventive concentration.  We’ll need a talented director of this effort.