The Hidden Language of Issue 3

How the ballot language of Issue 3 seeks to deceive voters.

You’ve probably heard a lot about , the citizen-led referendum to repeal , which is Governor Kasich’s attempt to break unions.

What you may not have heard much about is Issue 3, his attempt to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, labeled “Obamacare” by Republicans nationwide. If you are fond of the term “Obamacare,” incidentally, you are probably equally as loathesome of the term “Romneycare,” which one would expect you will be hearing about in the months leading up to the Presidential Election of 2012.

(It’s also why you’ll probably never see Romney choose Herman Cain as his potential Vice President, as I’m sure Republicans are certain they don’t want “Romney/Cain 2012” on yard signs reminding the voters he passed a very similar law as governor of Massachusetts).

Issue 3 ended up on the ballot as a Republican strategy to bring out their base to vote not only for the repeal of any sort of national health care law, but also to vote for Issue 2. Their theory is that they will bring a sizable voting block out to attempt to kill two birds with one stone.

What is disgusting and misleading about Issue 3 is the wording on the ballot itself.  When you stop into your local voting booth Tuesday, November 8th, you wil see the following words under the Issue 3 heading:


(the link to prove it is here: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/ballotboard/2011/3-language.pdf)

This means, if you are in favor of the national health care law, you are voting “NO, I do not wish to preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care.” 

Of course, nothing in the national health care law prohibits Ohioans from having the freedom to choose their health care; and whether or not the law is deemed constitutional on a federal level by the Supreme Court (as they will likely decide upon next year), a federal law would trump any additions Ohioans might make to their state constitution. I am fairly certain we fought a war over the federal ability to get states to do things they may or may not want to do. 

Besides that, Ohioans are required to buy car insurance in this state, so precedents have already been somewhat set in the matter.

But I digress. The idea behind the language of the ballot, of course, is simple: the Republicans want to not only bring out their base, but trick unwitting voters into amending the Ohio constitution on the basis that they will see the words “preserve the freedom of Ohioans” and vote YES. Because what American would vote against preserving freedom? The ballot might as well say:


The fact that the Ohio Ballot Board would somehow have approved of this language is pretty shameful. It’s misleading, and should Issue 3 pass and Issue 2 fail overwhelmingly, any political statistician with any common sense would look at the results and understand that something is not quite right here.

This situation is indicative of politics in America at this point. It used to be that we would disagree over things that were seemingly at a rhetorical impasse, with logical arguments being made on both sides. Propaganda has always been a political disease, but with the addition of SuperPACs and the internet the truth is hidden further and further beneath the layers of abdicated responsibility on all sides.

Now we’re dealing with calculated efforts to mislead the public—not just with propaganda—but with blatant lies, hyper-hyperbolic statements, and psychological ruses aimed to get one party to win elections rather than what’s best for the good of the country.

So this ballot language is also a larger sign of our times.

In 1964, Lyndon Johnson ran the infamous “Daisy Girl” ad—where an innocent little girl counts as she picks the petals off flowers only to then hear the voice of a nuclear countdown leading to a juxtaposed image of a nuclear mushroom cloud. The ad ran once, and was  considered in such bad taste, it is often taught in schools as historically despicable. Now our daily politics are all “Death Panels,” “The Muslim Antichrist,” and ballot language aimed at tricking voters.

I understand that people are supposed to be responsible enough to knowledgeably understand what they are voting for, but politicians and ballot boards should be responsible enough not to purposefully deceive them as well.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Evan Hammersmith November 01, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Issue 3 was in the works getting petitions signed for a ballot initiative right after obamacare was enacted. That was before Kasich was even elected. So how can you say issue 3 is on the ballot to get ppl to vote on issue 2? get your facts straight. Issue 3 will be voted into law because the majority of the VOTING block in Ohio know that Obamacare is bad Ohioans and Bad for America. We dont need to be tricked or misled. When it comes to Obamacare, people know the truth, and they know it stinks.
Dale Meggas November 01, 2011 at 07:11 PM
whatever the language on this issue, being required to buy car insurance is only if you have a car...health insurance in this issue is mandated so its not the same matter.
Patrick Giusto November 01, 2011 at 07:22 PM
It's true that the petitions were in the works as early as Spring of 2010. But clearly it did not have as much support as you think it does, because they failed to collect the number of signatures to get it on the ballot, and instead focused their efforts on 2011. Clearly, if they couldn't get enough signatures in 2010, and they could in 2011 after Kasich was in office and SB5 passed, Republicans were playing off the divisiveness of Issue 2. Besides, I never told you how to vote on the Issue. You may have discerned my bias-- but then I find it funny that you missed the point of the article, which is that the language on the ballot itself is biased, and that is a problem. You vote how you want to vote, but the ballot board should be choosing language that is impartial to the issue itself. Personally, I think it doesn't matter whether this passes or not, because the Supreme Court will ultimately decide the matter.
Patrick Giusto November 02, 2011 at 09:24 PM
Dale, I've spent about 24 hours researching your comment. Thank you for posting it, and for understanding my main complaint is mainly with the ballot language itself. I tried to approach this the way Fact-Check.org would look at my statement regarding "precedent being somewhat set in the matter." First, in Ohio, you are required to buy insurance or a bond if you intend on DRIVING a car, not owning one. According to ohio.gov, "In Ohio, it is illegal to drive any motor vehicle without insurance or other proof of financial responsibility (FR)" (http://bmv.ohio.gov/fr_laws.stm). Still, this is a massively large group of people, and the state is requiring they purchase something. It is my understanding that this seems to have been upheld in the court system as well. And under the so-called "Obamacare" law, people of low income can apply for credits or a waiver to assist with the cost of purchasing and expands Medicaid. This, according to an article I found on Fact-Check at http://www.factcheck.org/2010/12/health-care-law-waivers. So, anyone who feels "forced" to buy health insurance could assumedly take those avenues. I will concede that, for those who cannot afford either insurance, there is a grey area of "choice" in the matter. The Court will ultimately decide that role. I did say "somewhat set," and as applicable now, it is "somewhat" set that a government can make that requirement. But thank you for being courteous in the way you responded to my post.


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