Columbus City Council last night approved spending 280 thousand dollars to fund what the panel says are non-partisan voter ads alerting the public about early voting times and other information.
The all-Democratic council made the move after two Republican members of the Franklin County Board of Elections thwarted spending 275 thousand dollars in county money on the ads. Those members said voters are aware of the issues and polling locations. The all-Democratic County Commission planned to hire a firm to produce the ads, but Republican county Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said the commission lacked the authority to do so. City Council president Shannon Hardin last night called the board's vote a case of voter suppression.
The city's contract is with Strategic Public Partners, which is expected to hire Democratic firm Triumph Communications as a subcontractor. Franklin County Republican Party chair Brad Sinnott calls the city's move “outrageous.”