Voters First Falsely Advertises Ohio NAACP Endorsement
Voters First Ohio, the union campaign to change Ohio’s political map-making process, is advertising the endorsement of Ohio’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) but has not received the group’s endorsement. At publication, the union-dominated Voters First “Endorsements” page lists “NAACP Ohio Chapter” – an apparent reference to Ohio Conference NAACP, since “NAACP Ohio Chapter” does not exist.
In an interview with Media Trackers, Ohio Conference NAACP president Sybil Edwards-McNabb confirmed the group has not endorsed Issue 2, the state constitutional amendment proposed by Voters First. The Ohio Conference NAACP is an organization comprised of NAACP affiliates from across the state.
Echoing concerns from representatives of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, Edwards-McNabb said ”there are some other parts of the redistricting and Issue 2 that we have some unreadiness with. And that’s where the NAACP and the Ohio Conference of the NAACP stand: we have not come out with a ‘blanket endorsement’ on anything.”
Edwards-McNabb said she was unaware Voters First had been publicly claiming Ohio’s NAACP supported Issue 2.
“For the organization to be used or to be targeted as coming out with an endorsement – that isn’t going to happen,” Edwards-McNabb said. She added that she planned on asking Ohio Conference NAACP lawyers to “look at what is being said” by Voters First and make a recommendation regarding the best course of action.
By falsely advertising the endorsement of “NAACP Ohio Chapter,” Voters First has likely run afoul of state law.
Ohio Revised Code 3517.22(b)(2) dictates that “no person, during the course of any campaign in advocacy of or in opposition to the adoption of any ballot proposition or issue, by means of campaign material, including sample ballots, an advertisement on radio or television or in a newspaper or periodical, a public speech, a press release, or otherwise, shall knowingly and with intent to affect the outcome of such campaign [ ] post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate, a false statement, either knowing the same to be false or acting with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, that is designed to promote the adoption or defeat of any ballot proposition or issue.”
As Media Trackers has previously reported, the endorsement page for Voters First Ohio features a laundry list of unions and far-left groups, including the Ohio Education Association, We Are Ohio, Ohio Voice, ProgressOhio, Planned Parenthood, and the AFL-CIO.