Ohio Voice Under the Magnifying Glass


In the course of investigating the groups behind current ballot initiatives Fair Elections Ohio and Voters First Ohio, the innocuous name “Ohio Voice” appears frequently. Unlike the many known left-leaning groups partnered with the Fair Elections Ohio and Voters First campaigns, Ohio Voice is difficult to classify at a glance.

Ohio Voice is an affiliate of State Voices, a national organization dedicated to “civic engagement.” Practically no details about Ohio Voice are provided on the State Voices website, beyond this mission statement: “Ohio Voice is dedicated to deepening and growing the civic participation of historically underrepresented and socially responsible individuals through 501(c)(3) organizations throughout the state, thereby advancing policies that benefit all Ohioans.”

According to her State Voices biography, Ohio Voice director Sarah Saccany Zeller served as president of the Ohio Young Democrats from 2007 through 2010 before joining State Voices in 2011.

Like much else in Ohio, the surest sign that Ohio Voice is a far-left group comes courtesy of Brian Rothenberg at ProgressOhio, who mentioned that ProgressOhio Education is an Ohio Voice member in a January 2011 blog entry entitled, “Attention Progressive Job Seekers: Ohio Voice Seeks New State Director.”

The State Voices website currently lists no partners or members of Ohio Voice, but an archived version of the Ohio Voice page makes it clear why Rothenberg describes Ohio Voice as “progressive.” This is a complete list of Ohio Voice members according to an Internet Archive snapshot from December 23, 2010:

Partner Organizations:

  • AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland
  • APRI
  • ASIA, Inc (Asian Services in Action)
  • Empowering & Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP)
  • Equality Ohio Education Fund
  • Jobs with Justice Cleveland
  • Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative
  • Ohio Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF)
  • OhioVotes
  • Sierra Student Coalition / Earth Island Institute
  • The Amos Project
  • UHCAN Ohio (Universal Health Care Access Network)
  • Women’s Voices. Women Vote
  • Working America Education Fund-Ohio
  • Working Families Fund

Leadership Committee Members:

  • Center for Progressive Leadership
  • Education Voters Institute
  • Jobs with Justice Columbus
  • NAACP National Voter Fund / Ohio Voter Fund
  • NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation
  • Ohio Coalition on Black Civic Participation
  • Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio
  • Progress Ohio Education Fund

With exceptions for hard-left groups Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and ProgressOhio, the average Ohioan has likely never heard of many Ohio Voice partners. Over the coming months, Media Trackers Ohio will be taking a closer look at each organization listed above.

Media Trackers Colorado analyzed the State Voices network in Colorado — that post, entitled “State Voices: National Progressive Network Funding Local Progressive ‘Grassroots'”  can be found here.

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