Pro-levy supporters probed

Erie County Board of Elections investigates students ushering Ohio Veterans Home residents to polls
Sandusky Register Staff
Aug 22, 2013
Perkins Schools levy supporters recruited Ohio Veterans Home Alzheimer’s patients to vote for their cause, according to allegations raised by Erie County Board of Elections officials.
All four board members — two Democrats and two Republicans — based this charge on a letter they received from a local resident who often visits the veterans home.
Board member Amy Grubbe verified she saw students ushering veterans to the polls, located at the OVH, but she couldn’t determine if pro-levy supporters persuaded residents to vote “yes.” 
The complainant, Bob Weichel, said in a letter to the board that “a Perkins athletic coach accompanied a Perkins Schools girls athletic team to the Ohio Veterans Home to assist veterans in getting to the polling place located in the home.”
Weichel raised concerns about district levy supporters and students possibly influencing how some veterans voted.
By more than a 4-to-1 margin, individuals voting at the veterans home approved the Perkins Schools levy. This was the largest margin of victory throughout the district’s 16 voting precincts.
But consider this: Only 27 veterans submitted a ballot at the Ohio Veterans Home, and more than 4,600 people participated in this election. In May, 30 people cast a vote at the home for a similar school levy, with an almost identical outcome.
In the end, voters collectively rejected both the May and August issues aimed to generate new funds for operations through property taxes.
To Weichel, however, a small turnout doesn’t discredit large, lingering concerns supposedly occurring on Election Day.
“I feel the Perkins students and their coach assisting veterans to the polls corrupts the political process and violates the law since their veiled political activity is taking place well within 100 feet of the polling place and could happen mere feet away form the voting area,” Weichel wrote. “The blatant actions of the levy supporters are disgusting and disrespectful to the veterans who have served our country.”
Elections board officials read Weichel’s letter at a public meeting Wednesday morning.
The four members came to a consensus: Even though nobody violated any election laws, what allegedly occurred at the Ohio Veterans Home could be considered immoral and unethical.
Board members referenced students and other levy supports ushering, escorting and even pushing wheelchairs from a designated unit to the polling location.
“You have one side that has access to private residents who might be vulnerable,” board member Chris Marinko said. “You have a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and someone else on the other side persuading and driving that voter to do something.”
Said board member Kevin Zeiher: “I want to see the residents given every opportunity to vote. But it’s not a good thing that these people don’t know what’s going on or maybe don’t want to vote for or against the issue.”
Jason Bennett, chair of the newly formed Perkins Schools levy committee, said any accusations about recruiting Alzheimer’s patients are ill-founded.
A group of 15 or so volunteers, including students and community members, did escort Ohio Veterans Home residents to the polls, but only if a volunteer coordinator from the home designated them as interested voters, Bennett said. The group took the veterans to the hallway in front of the polling place and didn’t go inside.
“We were given a map with the locked Alzheimer’s areas marked off and they told us ‘those are areas you can’t go into,’” Bennett said. “I didn’t participate in, see or hear anyone trying to coerce any residents to vote for or against the levy or even to go vote.”
Bennett, a long-time Ohio Veterans Home volunteer who works at a Toledo-area nursing home, said some patients the group assisted may have had health conditions. The home’s employees could not provide volunteers with medical information, however, because of privacy concerns.
“I’ve never been criticized for volunteering before,” Bennett said. “It’s sad. It seems with this election, there is a certain segment of the population that thinks everything is underhanded and sneaky.”
Perkins Schools officials are proposing a 10-year, 6.73-mill levy for the November ballot — identical to the issue voters rejected earlier this month.
“The Ohio Veterans Home will be telling us what their policy us,” elections board director Jen Ferback said. “We will do whatever the home wants us to do for the November election and any other election.”
Among the possibilities that could occur, according to Ferback: Veterans home administrators could prohibit anyone who doesn’t live in the facility, or who is not a family member, from attending the polling location on Election Day.
Pick up the Register this week for more stories on Perkins Schools, including fundraising and private donors offsetting pay-to-play costs.



Well said, SamAdams. I'm sure tribester will disagree, though.


What will the rallying cry be for the next attempt for a levy? "Our football field is better than yours" or "Our projected new school will be better than yours".

It sure can't be anything with academics with the latest state report card. How about "Were no.6 in academics in the SBC."

Those in charge of the school system have put a football field and a building over academics.

A November passing of the levy doesn't look to good with the same administration in charge. "Were no. 6". What a rallying cry.


Thank you Jim Gunner! Great job!


The most damning point of all this against the levy is what it says about the general intelligence of a core levy supporter. Apparently, this levy is supported by the type of person who thinks 31 votes out of over 4000 are worth the obvious risk of just such an investigation, along with the numerous other ethical/legal pitfalls. It's like Nixon's people bugging the Watergate just to get the electoral votes from Wyoming.


Maybe you should re-think your post. My interpretation of your post is that by voting (YES) the students will automatically get a better education or higher grades which is equivalant to Test Scores.
I thought that teachers "Are" under contract to produce the maximum results. I have found that people who don't produce don't necessarily produce more by raising their wages unless it's piece work. This is more than likely why our system is failing, employing teachers that don't produce results.



Would still like to meet with u regarding state funding. I apologize that we have not gotten together yet. Please let me know your availability.


Several of us meet at the Better Half Restaurant every Tuesday morning at 10:30. You are more than welcome.


Wald might be on to something with the scores being related to taking hundreds of open enrollment kids from Sandusky (it's no secret that socioeconomic factors play a BIG role in academic performance after all)
However, open enrollment pays the bills the community refuses to pay with repeated no votes on levies, so once again you reap what you sow.


Look at their scores prior to open enrollment, tribester, then come back with your line of crap! They were still terrible! This has been going on way too long.


This whole thing is a disgrace ! What just gripes me the most is that people who are registered voters, but who RENT and don't own their home, which means that THEY AREN'T AFFECTED BY THE LEVY PASSING, are allowed to vote on this ! It would be like your neighbors who rent, going with you and picking out your new car and you paying for it, whether you like the car or even wanted it !


They're effected when the owner of their home, the landlord, raises their rent. Or they just don't believe or trust in the direction of the district and its leadership.




Rah-Rah- Stand them on their heads, stand them on their feet, Test score, test scores , who cares, just look at our Stadium, quite a feat, more ,more ,more levy money needed, have more free ice-cream. Vote no .


I own my home but have rental property in Sandusky. I can assure you that landlords will only accept a certain amount of tax, insurance, or levy increases before they raise the rent. Every landlord should raise their rent at the same time to cover the added expense. Wasn't this tried in Sandusky?


Most of the less upscale renters will never make the connection - if they understood financial cause and effect better, they wouldn't be less upscale.

Edwin Ison

Pro-levy supporters probed!

Okay, I love that headline :)

Good 2 B Me

By that title, I kind of expected a totally different 'probing' to have taken place!


woohoo! another productive day of "Vote No" blogging!!! You missed a beautiful day outside!


I thought that this was a rather interesting read.


I'm at the Better Half Restaurant on Tuesday mornings from around 10:30 till about noon. You won't have any trouble finding me. Just ask the Waitress, TONI.


I won't be able to meet then due to work, but I do want to work out a time we can meet


I hope the all had photo IDs!!

Julie R.

If Perkins wants to teach their young people how to be unethical and immoral, maybe they should take them to the Erie County courthouse. The courts on the 2nd floor could teach them just about everything they want to know and then some!