Gov DeWine COVID Vaccination Enticements on Ohio Attorney General’s Radar


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Governor Mike DeWine unveiled a program to entice Ohio adults and children alike to get the COVID vaccine on Wednesday – the State of Ohio will give away $5MM and five college scholarships.  Winners will be drawn weekly over five weeks from a pool of vaccinated Ohioans.

Gov. DeWine said:

Getting our 12- to 17-year-olds vaccinated is so important that we will have a separate incentive for them. Two weeks from tonight — on Wednesday, May 26th — we will announce the winner of a drawing of all those 17 years-old and under who have been vaccinated, and the winner will receive a full, four-year scholarship to our State of Ohio universities. This will include tuition, room-and-board, and books.

Next Tuesday, on May 18th, an electronic portal will be opened up for young people who have been vaccinated to be able to register.

We will do this every Wednesday, for five straight Wednesdays — each time randomly selecting one student to receive the full, four-year scholarship.

Now, let’s talk about the adults. Two weeks from tonight on May 26th, we will announce a winner of a separate drawing for adults who have received at least their first dose of the vaccine.

This announcement will occur each Wednesday for five weeks, and the winner each Wednesday will receive 1 million dollars. The pool of names for the “Ohio Vax-a-Million” drawing will be derived from the Ohio Secretary of State’s publicly available voter registration database.

Further, we will make available a webpage for people to sign up for the drawings if they are not in a database we are using. The Ohio Department of Health will be the sponsoring agency for the drawings, and the Ohio Lottery will conduct them. The money will come from existing federal Coronavirus Relief Funds.

To be eligible to win, you must be at least 18 years of age or older on the day of the drawing. You must be an Ohio resident. And, you must be vaccinated before the drawing.

The pool of names for the “Ohio Vax-a-Million” drawing will be derived from the Ohio Secretary of State’s publicly available voter registration database.”

In response to an email asking about the legality of the “Ohio Vax-a-Million” program and scholarship giveaways, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost offered this statement:

Like many of you, I first learned about this idea yesterday. At first blush, the concept does not appear to violate state law, though that will be dependent upon how it is designed. We will continue to review as additional details are made public.

Just because a thing may be legally done does not mean it should be done. The wisdom and propriety of this expenditure is a question for the Governor and the General Assembly.

Ohio-Vax-a-Million was announced during DeWine’s television address to Ohioans during which he also pitched vaccines for 12-15-year-olds and announced that COVID restrictions (except for nursing homes) would end June 1.

Ohio constitutional rights lawyer Maurice Thompson said “it definitely violates Article 15 of the Ohio Constitution (on lotteries) but thanks to Republican efforts to defend JobsOhio at all costs, nobody maintains legal standing to sue.”

DeWine’s Press Secretary Dan Tierney was contacted for clarification on the legality of the giveaways and whether Ohioans are marked as “vaccinated” or “unvaccinated” in the voter registration database or elsewhere. Tierney has not yet responded.

Ohio State Senator Andrew Brenner (R-District 19) was asked in a phone interview what he thought of the incentives and he said, “I oppose the use of the relief funds for a lottery and scholarships. Those dollars would be better spent on patients and the overall system.”

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Jack Windsor is the Statehouse Reporter at The Ohio Star. Windsor is also an independent investigative reporter. Follow Jack on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].



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7 Thoughts to “Gov DeWine COVID Vaccination Enticements on Ohio Attorney General’s Radar”

  1. Byard Grim

    Please ask yourself, why is there a push by the Dr. Anthony “Frankenstein” Fauci’s / DeWine’s of the world to give COVID experimental vaccine shots to healthy children who are 99.99% unlikely to contract COVID or be effected by it IF they ever do contract it. The crony doctors want to tout how effective the experimental vaccines are on kids when kids rarely contact it to start with. According to America’s Frontline Doctors ( children’s body cells (along with adults’) could, however be altered by getting those experimental non-FDA approved shots. NOT COOL!

  2. Byard Grim

    I’m sure the millions that Gov DeWine is giving away is from his own personal bank account and he’s not just playing fast and loose with Ohio taxpayers’ money……….NOT! How easy it is to give away other peoples’ money. (If he doesn’t look like Dr. Fauci’s twin brother I don’t know who does…and THAT makes me suspicious as well.)

  3. Marlene Bennett Miller

    This reminds me of how the Nazis marked the Jews! They are separating us out and marking us in their data base who is or isn’t vaccinated. I am an American and you will not herd me up and label me nor will you take away my rights!!!!!

  4. Nancy Caine

    Hi Jack,

    While the giveaway is disturbing in and of itself, I find that the question of whether our experimental shot status will be connected to the voter roles an even great offense. Please keep following up on this important question. Thank you!

    Nancy Caine

  5. Sally Robison

    Why are the Covid relief monies not being used to support all of the small businesses hurt or shutdown as a result of the governor’s mandates?!

  6. Michelle Fetty

    Love the Star’s following of this Governor. This article begs a further question. Will the sign up for the minors include a clause in the fine print that releases their names for further use in a vaccine registry (or other government use)? They say the devil is in the details. I put nothing past this oligarch. I ask this question because I am incensed by a man who will try to entice parents to make health decisions on behalf of their children, for possible financial gain.

  7. Amy Wilson

    As always I appreciate you looking out for all the commoners of the state. I appreciate you not being a sheep and asking the questions we all have. You are making sure our voices are heard & I am grateful for that!

    Amy Wilson
    Seneca County