Heights LWV encourages voter participation
At the University Heights Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 29, democracy was on the minds of many, especially Wendy Deuring, Marilyn Singer, Kathy Flora, Sharona Hoffman, Pat Solomon and Eefje Kolkmann.
These six League of Women Voters (LWV) of Greater Cleveland members marched the 1.8-mile parade route, sharing information on new voting laws, the Aug. 8 special election, and the LWV’s position against State Issue 1. These stalwart marchers joined LWV members Janice Foster and Blanche Valancy at the voter information table at the Memorial Day Festival at Gearity elementary school.
Some voters along the parade route wondered why the LWV of Ohio had taken a “Vote No” stand against the Aug. 8 referendum, State Issue 1, which would make it more difficult for citizens to initiate changes to the Ohio state constitution.
If State Issue 1 is approved on Aug. 8 (by a simple majority of voters in a special election that typically has a very low turnout), any citizen initiative that is on this November's ballot will now require a supermajority affirmative vote (60 percent), and all future ballot initiatives not already approved for signature collections will be required to collect a required number of valid signatures in all of Ohio's 88 counties. This means that, regardless of how many signatures were collected overall, a citizen proposal could be blocked in one county.
The LWV of Ohio has determined that the referendum was placed on an Aug. 8 special election (notable for low turnout) for special interests who want to permanently lock up Ohio’s constitution for their benefit. It would allow a small group of voters to make decisions affecting the whole state.
At the voter information table, LWV members answered questions, helped with voter registration, and handed out applications to vote by mail in the upcoming Aug. 8 election.
League members made people aware of a recent change in Ohio voting laws that requires voters to present a photo ID to vote in person; voters can still use the last four digits of their social security number when voting by mail. The LWV members also advised voters that they should verify that their registration is up to date at least 30 days before the election. The LWV suggests all voters make a voting plan—either to vote early, vote by mail, or vote in person on Election Day.
Wendy Deuring, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights LWV chapter chair reflected on the group's parade experience, noting, “It was truly remarkable, and heartwarming, and rather overwhelming, the number of people who cheered and clapped and raised their fists in support when they saw our banner.”
LWV members will be at other events and festivals this summer.
To learn more about voter registration and voting requirements, including important deadlines and voting hours, check the websites of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (https://boe.cuyahogacounty.gov) or the Ohio Secretary of State (www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters).
Elizabeth Tracy is a member of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland.