Political briefs – Sept. 16


PORTMAN CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES STUDENTS FOR PORTMAN COALITION – The Portman for Senate campaign launched its Students for Portman coalition with campus coordinators on over 20 college and university campuses across the State of Ohio. This group will be helping the Portman campaign organize and mobilize students on campus and will help communicate Rob Portman’s record to ensure that every student who wants a good job after graduation can find one.

“Over the summer, 200 high school and college students helped our campaign make 400,000 voter contacts through our door-to-door and phone programs,” campaign manager Corry Bliss said. “The Students for Portman coalition will be an important part of our campaign moving forward and we’re excited to work with these students to ensure that Rob Portman’s message reaches students across Ohio during this campaign.”

As part of the launch of the coalition, the Portman for Senate campaign became the first Senate campaign in the country to sponsor an ad on Instagram. The ad is microtargeted to students at The Ohio State University and began running this weekend during OSU’s first home football game. Other ads targeted to Ohio universities will also begin running this week.

COUNTY BOARDS OF ELECTIONS GET GREEN LIGHT FOR E-POLLBOOKS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that county boards of elections may begin moving forward with the purchase of e-pollbooks. The General Assembly appropriated $12.7 million to aid county governments in covering the cost of upgrading to e-pollbooks during the biennial budget (Am. Sub. H.B. 64) approved on June 30th.

“E-pollbooks help voters more efficiently find their correct voting precinct which leads to less confusion and shorter wait times. We know that e-pollbooks create a better voting experience for voters and poll workers” Secretary Husted said

The state funding is intended to cover up to 85 percent of each county’s purchase cost with funds being distributed based on the number of voters in each county.

“The Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) appreciated the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Secretary of State, the Ohio Association of Election Officials (OAEO), and the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) on this project. We look forward to continuing this partnership as we take the next steps in implementing these budget provisions,” said DAS Assistant Director Randall Howard.

FOLLOWING BROWN’S URGING, PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES PLAN TO SIMPLIFY THE FINANCIAL AID PROCESS FOR STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded the Administration’s new plan to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for students and their families. Because the FAFSA requires tax information, students must wait until the next year’s tax season to finalize their FAFSA forms and apply for financial aid. This delay can cause students to miss out on first-come, first-served financial aid awards from colleges and universities and limits the time they have to compare competing school’s financial aid packages. Following a letter from Brown and 30 of his Senate colleagues, President Obama today announced an initiative to allow students to fill out their FAFSA before tax season by electronically retrieving tax information from the “prior prior” tax year.

“Earning a degree is crucial in today’s economy and financial aid helps ensure that more students can access higher education,” said Brown. “Allowing students and their families to complete the FAFSA earlier will give students greater access to financial aid awards and provide more time for students to evaluate their options.”

Simplifying the FAFSA process could also encourage more low-income students to complete the FAFSA. Approximately 2 million students enrolled in college are eligible for a Pell Grant but never applied for financial aid. Some students forego applying to college altogether because they don’t know that federal aid is available.

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