Successful Voting Event at 2100 Lakeside Shelter

Rev. Tony Minor, Advocacy Director at LMM, was the Master of Ceremony for our successful National Voter Registration Day event.  We registered or changed the address of 17 individuals, and a few requested an absentee ballot.  We heard from State Representative Mike Foley and County Councilman Dale Miller who both worked to motivate the crowd to vote.  Natoya Walker Minor represented Mayor Frank Jackson at the event.  All brought the message that it is critical for everyone to participate in Democracy. 

Walker Minor talked about the judicial races in Cleveland and the County that don't receive a lot of attention, but have a profound impact on the life of residents.  She talked about how important the judicial branch of government is to the community and we select our judges through a vote in November.  Mike Foley talked about how every vote matters with his first election as an example.  Mike won by a handful of votes that took two months to conduct a recount of the votes.  He is thankful for every vote because of his close election for State Representative. 

Dale Miller talked about the importance of voting and the changes in the law that are making it harder to participate.  He talked about and answered questions about some of the ballot issues that we vote on in November.  The State leaders have made it difficult for low income people to vote, and everyone talked about how important it was to cast a ballot because of all the blood spilled to earn the right to vote for women and minorities in the United States.  We urged people to complete a voter registration card if they had changed residences since they last voted.  

September 23 was National Voter Registration Day and we celebrated at 2100 Lakeside Shelter. We had the four community leaders on hand to talk to homeless people and eight volunteers registering people to vote.  There are only two weeks left to register people to vote.  We are urging early voting for homeless people who often have issues with maintaining identification.  We are going to help homeless people get over to vote during Golden Week and then through the election.  We are appreciative of Board for opening additional hours and additional weekend days so that it is easier for homeless people who often work full time to vote. 

Thanks to all the volunteers and the speakers for making this a successful event.  We hope that we continue to have a good turnout of homeless people who vote. 

Brian Davis

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Voting Changes Needed

As of October 20, 613,000 Ohioans have returned their absentee ballot by mail.  There are 750,000 who had requested an absentee ballot but not returned those ballots yet in Ohio as of Saturday.  In Cuyahoga County 12% of the voters have returned their ballot with 132,000 still outstanding.  Cuyahoga County has a return rate as 45% and Franklin County has a 55% and Hamilton County has a 53% return rate while Mahoning County is leading the state with a 57% return rate.  If your family or friends have not returned their ballot yet, please encourage them to dropping off their ballot at the board or mailing those into the Board (remember the extra postage).

We are still offering rides to the Board of Elections to take your constituents to vote early.  Voting early will allow the voter to provide the last four digits of their social security number instead of having to show ID as they would on election day.  For low income people it is much better to vote early at the board of elections site.  That staff over on East 30th and Euclid are professional, efficient and will do a good job explaining the rules to the citizens so that their vote will count.  If you need to schedule a ride give us a call at 216/432-0540. 

Also, on our website we added some statistics on voter turnout rates and registration rates around the world.  Unfortunately, the United States is on the bottom of the list of the number of citizens registered to vote down with Cameroon with only 82% of our citizens registered in 2008.  Here is the link to the site. This just reinforces the need for dramatic changes in the voting procedures in the United States.  This is something that should be taken up as a constitutional amendment:

  • Mandatory registration/voting requirements.  You should pay an additional tax if you choose not to vote.
  • Minimum standards for registering every citizen in every state including the distribution of free identification to protect the vote.
  • Ending all barriers to participating in democracy including challengers at the polling places.
  • Removing oversight elections from the parties.  This should be operated in a non-partisan manner throughout the United States, and independents should have a seat at the table.
  • Voting should not be tied to a house.  You should be able to cast a statewide only ballot or a county wide ballot if you choose. 
  • Setting a goal to have 95% registered by the next presidential election. 

NEOCH will be doing a ton of work on Election Day.   If you would like to volunteer on Election Day to help get homeless people to vote, please give us a call.  Since the change of address deadline in Ohio was October 9, there are many who became homeless over the last month.  They may be registered in another area of the county or in a surrounding county and need a ride back to their polling place of origin in order to vote.  We can offer rides back to the polling place for residents of the shelter to assure that they can vote.  We will also be available at NEOCH to answer questions about ID provisions, where a person is supposed to vote, or if they need a ride to a distant polling place.  We will be available all day to answer  questions or respond to problems.  Call if you want to volunteer at 216/432-0540.

Brian Davis

All posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Upcoming Events for Voting

NEOCH staff will be going around every week to pick up completed voter registration cards to drop off at the Board of Elections.  We dropped off blank forms this last week to every homeless social service provider in the community.  Many shelters are sending their registrations directly to the Board, but we are helping out some of the big shelters to get these returned in a timely manner.  

In addition, we have the CD of all the registered voters in Cuyahoga County and their voting history.  We can pull out your shelter’s address out of the data and send you a list of everyone registered a shelter address.  This way a shelter staff person could contact them if they know their current address to get them to change their address with the Board of Elections.  If you work at a shelter and want to take on this project send NEOCH an e-mail or call us.

NEOCH, as part of our lawsuit against the State of Ohio, we are looking for low income or homeless people who are having a hard time getting identification, but want to vote in the fall.  We want to talk to people who especially want to vote in person but are born in one of those states that take a very long time to get a birth certificate such as Puerto Rico, New York City, Indiana, California, etc..  Please give these clients our contact information and ask them to get in touch with me.   We want to talk to people without id and who want to vote in person in November.

Finally, OhioVotes a program of the state Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio will have a training session for shelters and service providers in Cleveland on Tuesday September 11 to provide information on early voting, the hours of operation for early voting, Golden Week, and coordination for getting your clients to the polling place.  This training will provide updated information on the current state of the law.  We hope that each shelter can send a staff person to this training. We will send you more information on this in the near future.

Other upcoming dates include:

  • National Voter Registration Day is September 25, 2012
  • National Homeless Registration Week is September 30 to October 6, 2012
  • Golden Week in Ohio is October 2 to October 9, 2012--this is the week in which a person can vote and register at the same time at the main Board of Elections office at the same time.  This could be limited by the attempts by one political party to reduce the number of hours that Board is open in the evening and the weekend.

Brian Davis