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Published: Wednesday, 7/10/2002

Grant aims for clean campaigns

BY BLADE POLITICAL WRITER

The League of Women Voters of Toledo-Lucas County has received a grant from the Secor Fund to pay for the Clean Campaign Education Project, a program designed to teach political candidates and voters about ethical campaign techniques.

The grant totals nearly $20,000, said Sue Nichols, administrative vice president of the League.

The program is about “consciousness-raising,” Ms. Nichols said. “We are trying to get voters to be aware of the whole issue and urging them to use the power of their vote to support clean campaigners.

“So many people are turned off by the negative, nasty things that go on. Political researchers say that if we had issue-oriented campaigns rather than irrelevant personal attacks, more people would be interested,” she said.

The grant money will be used to pay for a Web site, bus advertising, a speakers bureau, and brochures aimed at helping voters evaluate political radio and television commercials.

This is the second election cycle in which the League will employ the clean campaign program. Last year, it established a committee that monitored the Toledo mayoral race between Democrats Ray Kest and Jack Ford, evaluating complaints and issuing regular reports as the campaign progressed.

Both Mr. Ford and Mr. Kest signed pledges to run clean campaigns. It was the first mayoral race in a major American city to be covered by such a pledge, according to Brad Rourke, vice president of the Institute for Global Ethics, based in Camden, Maine, which wrote the pledge in 1998.

Several candidates for local offices in Lucas County this year have signed similar pledges that were promoted by the League.

After the mayoral race, the monitoring committee met to discuss the experience and determined that, in addition to monitoring the behavior of candidates, “it was clear that voters needed to be convinced that issue-oriented campaigns are vital to providing sufficient information on which to base decisions when they go to the polls,” a news release from the League said.



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