A Vote for God in Ohio? May 28, 2011

A Vote for God in Ohio?

Jon Husted, the Ohio Secretary of State, wants natives to vote on the “I Voted” sticker that will be given out at polling booths this November:

Two of the stickers, however, feature the line “With God, All Things Are Possible.” (***Update***: Commenters point out it’s the state’s motto.)

Let’s vote them out of existence.

Go to ElectYourSticker.

You’ll need to enter an Ohio zip code… like 45482… or something like that. (Because, you know, you’ll all Ohioans.)

I suggest voting for the following one as it’s currently in second place (28.7%) to one of the God stickers (29.6%):

(Thanks to Brian for the link!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Cliff

    As an Ohioan (now), I can only say … AAAAARRRRRGH!

    Also, as if we needed to be tossing out all the stickers we’ve paid for for this nonsense.

  • Alycia

    That’s our state motto. As much as I dislike it, they aren’t exactly including it just to be turds.

  • SIlent Service

    They ask for a zip code to vote. What do they think that people can’t look up a zip code unless they actually love there? Mine is 45385, Zenia OH. Here’s the Dayton zip code map.


  • ehoff

    45056 is Oxford, OH. I happen to have just enrolled in a grad program there for teachers…
    And no offense, Ohio, but that’s kind of a sucky state motto.

  • Gabby

    I’m in Cincinnati with 45202. I wasn’t even aware that it WAS our motto. Can’t say I’m surprised.

  • Erik

    I think they forgot to hire a designer. Those are some ugly designs. Must be government work.

  • Evan

    As a Ohioan I’m glad to throw my weight.

    If you need some zips, a couple off the top of my head are: 44144, 44127, 44107, 45251.

  • Rhodent

    I am bothered by this post. It’s one thing to suggest we all go vote in an online poll. It’s another to suggest we be deceitful by putting in a fake zip code.

    I know some people will point out that Christians have no compunctions about being deceitful to accomplish their goals, and will therefore feel like I’m basically saying we should refuse to bring a gun to a gun fight. Personally, I think that in the long run we don’t need to lie to win.

    On another note, I agree with Erik that these designs are all hideous. And I’m not sure why they hand out “I voted” stickers in the first place. When my polling place hands me one, I never wear it.

  • NotYou007


  • I like Glee, so I chose to say that I’m from Lima. By the by, the “I Ohio Voting” sticker is now in first place.

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for bringing this to people’s attention, Hemant! Not only did I vote, but since I’m an Ohioan, I also sent the following message to Secretary of State Husted:

    Regarding the “elect your sticker” poll, I just wanted to voice my concern and confusion that there could be two choices which contain the phrase “With God All Things Are Possible”. Does this not directly conflict with the concept of separation of church & state? I strongly feel that it would be inappropriate for the State of Ohio to be handing out materials with a religious message. That should be left to the various religious organizations. I respectfully request those two options be removed.

    Thank you for your time.
    Jennifer Robinson, tax paying Ohioan

    If any of my fellow Ohioans would like to send him their thoughts, you can do so here: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/elections/ContactUsElections.aspx

  • MDSD

    The goal of the stickers is to encourage other people who see you to go vote. No idea if it actually works. I can’t believe that’s the state motto! Not sure it’s any worse than “eureka, I have found it” though….

  • Annie

    Geeze. My state’s motto is “In god we trust.” I wouldn’t feel too bad about entering a fake zip code. The stickers will still be made, the voters will still get them, but no one (other than perhaps the designer) will feel too bad about it. The plus side is that many people in Ohio do not believe in god… or THIS god. And if a sticker wins that doesn’t include the motto, well, they can feel that it is for them too.

  • Ryan

    Pennsylvania state motto: “Virtue, Liberty and Independence”

    Get it together, Ohio.

  • I voted several times for the “I Ohio Voting” one, and to keep it honest I only used the Ohio zip codes in which I’ve actually lived and voted at some point in my life.

    Does PZ know about this? I’m sure he’ll have a field day with it…

  • Brian C Posey

    I had no idea that was the state motto either but it does sound familiar. Also, choice three is the best anyways.

    44319 … Akron, Ohio Baby


  • Tony

    I just looked up an ohio business directory and copied the zip code of a randomly selected church.

  • Demonhype

    Voted. Twice, it turns out. I don’t usually but it let me, so I went ahead and did it–I was mostly just going back to see where the results were at the time, but what the hell?

    The “I heart voting” sticker is at 33% right now, and is in the number one slot. Don’t let that discourage anyone from keeping them coming. Seriously.

    A couple other zips to add to the pile: 44273 (Seville), 44281 (Wadsworth), 44256 (Medina) and 44109 (Old Brooklyn–Cleveland).

    As to the supposed moral dilemma here, I say that if they don’t care enough to set it up so only Ohioans can vote there, then why should anyone else care? Heck, I was able to vote twice and didn’t even need to clear cookies!

    Also, I don’t care if this is supposed to be our state motto. They are still doing it to be turds. When religious people do this, it is always to be turds. The ones who originally did it did it to be turds, knowing that they had created a de facto method to prevent any atheists/nonChristians from standing on their rights, and that was persecution, both implicit and explicit.

    Now they say “well, no one complained until now, so we get to stand on it being a tradition.” No. No you don’t. Your tradition was only established by persecuting those whose rights you violated. You may as well say that it’s okay to maintain an overtly racist state motto (and I’m not talking about just the Confederate flag, I’m talking about a motto explicitly saying “White folk are the best fold there are!”)–after all, it’s tradition and no one complained back in 1892 or 1923 or 1951 when the state first adopted this motto, so what’s the problem? Well, considering what might have happened if any of those African-Americans had spoken up, it’s no wonder “no one complained”.

    Few things piss me off more than when they defend bigoted county/state/federal actions/mottos with “but it’s a tradition, and no one complained before now”, when they know damn well that any atheist outing him/herself would have suffered some vicious persecution and oppression for the crime of being in the right. Fuck, look at what out atheists go through now, especially in the Bible belt and other southern areas. Look at Fowler being thrown out of his home! But somehow, the fact that “no one complained” back then somehow signifies that everyone was in accordance with Jesus, and not that those who were “othered” were forced by the community to shut up. I guess if you can force your illegal actions on the populace for a long enough period of time, you can get away with anything after that.

  • JD

    That’s a lame motto. It probably would sound a lot lame if they took it in latin. It was ratified in 1959, which isn’t surprising that it came during the decade of the red scare.

  • Tristan Lawksley

    Secretary of State Jon Husted invites Ohioans to practice a little democracy prior to Election Day by electing the next “I Voted Today” sticker. In this particular election, you don’t have to be 18 to participate and you can vote as often as you like!

    The reason you can vote more than once is because they have allowed people to do it as often as they like. This is a useless poll… They can call it ” voting ” all they’d like but it’d only take one person voting over and over again to stack the deck — with or without a proxy. Hell, imagine what 10 of us could do in one day?

    The poll reeks of something, and it’s ain’t ” democracy. ” If Ohio was serious about this it would be a one and done vote for Ohio residents — not a bullshit poll that can be ravaged by dishonesty and sabotage.

    Leave the dishonesty and games to the Christians… We’re supposed to be better than that.

  • Richard Wade

    Whenever I see that slogan, which is in all sorts of places, not just in Ohio, if I can get away with it I sneak up and scribble “but some things are highly unlikely” underneath. Here are some political versions of that idea:

    With God, all things are possible,…

    …but don’t count on Republicans protecting your Medicare.

    …but your imprecatory prayers still haven’t hurt Obama.

    …and with the religious right, all things are predictable.

    …except keeping your freedom while taking away other’s freedom.

    …but to be ACTUAL, it takes voting.

    …but politically, he’s an independent.

    …but he can’t actually vote.

  • By the way guys, if anyone’s interested, 6 states have mottos referencing God. They are:
    Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky (kind of – they have two, one is just United We Stand, Divided We Fall, the other is Deo gratiam habeamus), Ohio, and South Dakota.

    In addition, of the three territories with mottos, two refer to religion: The American Samoa’s directly to god, Puerto Rico’s to John the baptist. Maryland’s is sexist, Montana’s is silly, and New Mexico’s is entirely uninspiring.

  • Yoda says young PZ you are.

    I Ohio Voting: 34.5%
    God Sticker: 26.8%

  • Anonymous

    With Xenu all things are possible

    Support the all-American religion!

  • Mari

    I can see why some people would think voting on this if you’re not a resident of Ohio is either questionable or flat-out wrong. However, this isn’t about actual fraud. By getting the word out there and showing that we care by asserting our input on this vote, we force the Ohio government to address the issue. In all likelihood, the vote will be pulled. They’re going to find out that this is happening, obviously, and they won’t let the votes stand where they are, since there will be out of state influence. However, by taking this action the issue is addressed, and they can’t exactly say nothing about why it happened and what is going on.
    Keep in mind, it’s only a sticker. And an online vote with absolutely zero security measures. They might as well supply a list of Ohio zip codes on the site, easy as it is to get around the thing.
    Separation of church and state is something the whole country should get behind, no matter which state the issue is coming from.

  • Austin

    I agree that the god stickers should go away, but isn’t claiming to be an Ohioan then voting on this kind of undermining the purpose of voting? I just think it’s a little dishonest.

  • Why not produce a variety of stickers and let voters choose which one to wear?

  • Margaret

    I voted, from 44101, because “Cleveland Rocks!”

    I wanted to point out that for all the bad things about my home state of Kansas, it has a really great motto — “Ad astra per aspera”: “To the stars through difficulties.”

    Come on, Ohio, you have all those astronauts… Was it God who sent you there?

  • Liz

    Ohioan here! Actually, I live in Maryland, but vote for Ohio still (military. All my super religious family is in Ohio though!

  • elricthemad

    I went to a convention in Columbus once. I looked up Columbus zip codes and picked one at random. Last check, “I Ohio Voting” was in the lead with over a 10% margin. Woo! Rock the vote, for the um, i voted sticker. Yeah.

  • Here’s a site with a list of Ohio zip codes, that doesn’t require you to know a city. Scroll and pick at random, yay. CLICKY

    Former 419’er, Toledo is a great place to be from

  • Tom

    I will not be voting in this poll because I am not from Ohio.

  • Carrie

    I voted. I’m not currently in Ohio, but I did grow up there and used the zip code of my childhood (memorized, no need to look it up). I mean, I still say pop and you guys instead of coke and y’all, so I figure I’m still mostly an Ohioan.

  • napoleonsolo

    A list of Ohio zip codes, if anyone’s interested.

  • Ralph

    What does I “Ohio” Voting even mean?

  • Justin

    FYI, currently the secular sticker is in first with 44.8% of the votes.

  • Benjamin Kay

    OK, so I actually am an Ohioan. Thanks for pointing this out, but I don’t think it’s very “friendly” to encourage what amounts to voter fraud.

  • Alex

    To make the state reconsider their assumptions about our tea party suburbs, here’s some zip codes from the notoriously blue southwestern corner: 45069 (West Chester), 45040 / 45249 (Mason), 45140 (Loveland), 45039 (Lebanon), 45036 (Maineville), 45243 (Madeira/Indian Hill), 45227 (Mariemont).

    I live in Liberty Twp, 45011. Buckeyes represent! I wouldn’t consider this voter fraud because it’s an election sticker. A STICKER. I think the state would appreciate their faux-popularity in the end. Besides, the state motto stickers should lose because they’re a bad design, much too busy.

  • dauntless

    @Richard Wade

    Whenever I see that slogan, which is in all sorts of places, not just in Ohio, if I can get away with it I sneak up and scribble “but some things are highly unlikely” underneath.

    I really didn’t expect this to come from you. I have read you say some very harsh things about people who have defaced the signs of atheist organizations. This strikes me as a double standard; it’s okay when you deface theist materials, but it’s self-serving, narcissistic graffiti when people mark up atheist signs.

  • It’s cute that you are encouraging people to lie.

  • CanadianNihilist

    I voted, and I have no problem voting a lie.

  • Donovan

    Well I just voted again (the easiest way to see the current tallies) and as of 1:45pm of 30 May, it’s 52.8% for the one we are supporting, and 7.6% and 15.7% for the two godly ones.

  • Vanessa


    Says the “I (Ohio) Voting” has more than half the votes. Whatever you were trying to accomplish, Hemant, it looks like it’s working.

  • What does I “Ohio” Voting even mean?

    It’s a play on I “Heart” Voting, only the heart is replaced with the shape of the state of Ohio. I think it’s cute! Even discounting the religious messages on the other two, it’s still my favorite sticker out of the bunch.

  • Nico


  • Kim

    I’m an Ohioan- Cincinnati transplant, but grew up near Lima, and actually met my husband participating in a musical theatre production there (so the differences between the real Lima and the ‘Glee’ Lima are especially amusing to me). You can imagine the coverage this kind of thing gets in those parts- or even Cincinnati, for that matter.

    Greta Christina hit upon it perfectly incisively in her recent AlterNet piece about Damon Fowler:

    “There’s the level of not only hostility, but panicked hostility, when entrenched religion gets its privileged status threatened.”

    I’m sick and tired of the way the irreligious always get portrayed as the instigators of the controversy in these cases: “INFIDELS IZ IN UR STATE TAKIN UR GOD AWAY!” The only controversy is that it’s effing 2011 and there are as many implicit and explicit middle fingers to the Establishment Clause as there are and that they even need to be called out.

    All that said… yeah. The motto sucks, and its inclusion on voting stickers sucks, but in the grand scheme, there are definitely bigger fish lined up for my frying pan right now.

  • jen

    Actually, the adoption of the motto is fairly recent (as in “it happened in the 90’s” recent) and it was a kid who got it pushed through. Ohio didn’t have a motto so he rallied for this one.

    (I read about this in one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.)

    I’m going to shed my Christian testimony for a couple minutes and give you two zip codes: 43209 (Bexley) and 43055 (Newark). I lived in both places and having done that, I have no issues with voting for the stickers.

  • Mr. Bill

    I notice it says on the front page that you can vote as many times as you like, but also says to come back daily. I don’t know if it maybe only accepts one vote per ip per day or something. Maybe I’ll run a script overnight and see if a numerical change is observable in the morning. There really aren’t any rules for this posted anywhere.

  • Ron

    Looks like the numbers for the religious sticker is growing, actually I think it will win if atheists don’t start selecting #3 in a big way.

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