The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote as guaranteed under the 15th Amendment to the U.S. constitution.
This law immediately decreased racial discrimination in voting. The adjournment of literacy tests and the assignments of federal examiners and observers allowed for high numbers of racial minorities to register to vote. In 1965, nearly 250,000 African Americans registered to vote. By 1967, this number increased to more than half (52.1%), and a majority of African American residents became registered to vote in 9 of 13 southern states. Learn more.
Author: Skip White, Community Outreach Coordinator
“I want to encourage people to watch the videos and to share their thoughts or ask questions,” said Pat McDonald the Director of the Board of Elections. “This is a very big decision that will impact voters and the Board for many years to come.”
All of the scanners and tabulation devices that are under consideration will utilize paper ballots so there will be no major changes for voters. People will continue feeding ballots into a scanner that also doubles as a ballot box. “Regardless of which vendor is selected, the machines will provide the same services voters have come to expect when they cast ballots,” said McDonald.
The demonstration videos also feature machines that allow people with disabilities to cast ballots on ADA approved devices.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has initiated the process of selecting a new building for early voting.
At today’s Board meeting, Director Pat McDonald was asked by the Board to launch a search for an early voting center that is better suited to accommodate large numbers of voters. Currently people cast early ballots at the Board headquarters located at 2925 Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland.
The Board hopes to identify the new facility as soon as possible in order to move early voting prior to the 2020 Presidential Election year. “Well over 50,000 people are expected to vote early in the 29 days that lead up to the March Primary and the Presidential General Elections,” said Pat McDonald, the Director of the Board of Elections. “Early voting has created traffic congestion, parking shortages and lines that can form out the doors and down the street. A new location will hopefully overcome these challenges and improve our service,” said McDonald.
The Board is seeking a location that would be large enough to serve thousands of voters per day, provide ample parking, and is located close to public transportation.
McDonald is encouraging commercial real estate agents, private land owners and the general public to contact the Board if they have a location in mind that may be able to serve its needs. “Other counties have been very creative and successful in finding new early voting sites that include former department stores, shopping malls and shuttered corporate buildings. All ideas are welcome,” said McDonald.
As part of the selection process, the Board also encourages election administration stakeholders and community leaders to share their thoughts on proposed early voting centers.
On the evening of December 6 it was snowing intensely at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, located in Cleveland, Ohio. Regardless of the inclement weather, Secretary of State-elect, Frank LaRose, attended his appointment with officials of the Board of Elections.
They were waiting for him anxiously to be able to share their ideas to make upcoming electoral processes accessible and much more successful than it in the November elections of this year. This was the first of many visits Senator LaRose will be a making around the State’s 88 jurisdictions as he prepares to take office. As Secretary of State, his powers will include control over many aspects of election administration.
The November 6, 2018 General Election culminated with a historic 52.9% voter turnout. The veteran Senator offered his congratulations to the election officials for the fluidity with which the electoral processes ran, from the absentee voting to Election Day. He spoke extensively with each of the department managers about initiatives that would substantially improve access to vote prior to Election Day.
Some of the proposals positively affect Spanish-speaking voters. It was suggested that there should be more clarity in the forms that are used to register voters. He was asked to create state issued bilingual voter educational materials. Right now only the Cuyahoga County and the Lorain County Boards of Elections provides all voting materials in Spanish and English. The incoming Secretary of State agreed with the officials on the viability of these measures. If implemented, there is hope that a deeper understanding of the voting process will encourage the Latino community to participate in the democratic process.
Remember that at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, we speak Spanish. We will keep you up to date with all the most important electoral information, such as deadlines, voting locations, sample ballots, and more. Follow us:
Today is Election Day! Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Voters will have many important decisions to make from state and federal offices to state and local issues in this midterm General Election.
Reminders for Voters
Voters are reminded to bring proper ID with them to the polls today. This includes:
Unexpired Ohio driver’s license or state ID
Current (within the past 12 months) utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document with your name and current address
Any voter that does not know where to vote can look up their polling location on our website. They may also download a sample ballot to review prior to voting. Click here for “My Voting Info”
People who vote by mail must be aware that the deadline to mail their ballot has passed. Voted ballots may only be returned to the Board of Elections office and must be received by 7:30 p.m. tonight. Voters may utilize a special ballot box located in the Board of Elections parking lot at 2925 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland (Map). Ballots cannot be dropped off at a voting location on Election Day, however, if a voter cannot return their ballot the Board of Elections they may vote a provisional ballot at their polling place.
Each year, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections hires about 4,500 election officials to work the polls for the General Election. Having enough people staff each polling location is critical to the overall success of the election, which is why we don’t take any chances. We are now hiring stand-by poll workers to step up in the event someone cannot fulfill their Election Day assignment.
Stand-by poll workers will receive a minimum stipend of $100 for being on call Monday and reporting on Tuesday. See below for additional requirements, and click here to apply.
National Voter Registration Day was a huge success this year! This grand collaboration yielded more than 1,800 voter registrations for Cuyahoga County, far surpassing the goal of 1,000 registrations. This is the first time in seven years that the Cuyahoga County voter registration roles have exceeded 900,000 in a November Election.
Each year, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections partners with Cleveland Votes to organize a county-wide collaboration for National Voter Registration Day (NVRD). Organizations, volunteers and community activists across the area participate by hosting events, conducting voter registration drives, volunteering and promoting voter registration online. This year, 54 partners joined the initiative, nearly doubling last year’s participation. About 25 unique events took place around the area providing ample opportunities for people to prepare for the election.
This year’s success actually surpassed the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election year, which achieved 934 registrations. Nationally, this was the biggest NVRD of all time with more than 800,000 voters registered, when only 300,000 was the projected goal. Midterms do not often garner the same voter buzz and general interest as presidential elections do, which is why this year’s outcome is a welcomed surprise for all.
If you are interested in joining the collaboration next year, please contact Cathy Goskey at email@example.com or 216-443-6413.
Last week approximately 110 students from Cleveland Metropolitan School District came to the Board of Elections to cast their votes. Congratulations to these first-time voters!
This organized effort stemmed from the Second Annual Your Voice Matters Youth Summitwhich took place on September 14. During the summit, students from around the county learned about the importance of voting and how to participate in the democratic process. Students created action plans to encourage their classmates to both register and actually vote. Their plans came full circle with class field trips to the Board of Elections during early voting.
Early voting for the November 6, 2018 General Election begins today. Voters are invited to take advantage of this convenience by either voting in person at the Board of Elections or by mail.
We kicked off the day by visiting the United States Postal Service where Director Pat McDonald held a press conference to discuss early voting. This morning, 70,000 ballots arrived for mailing and we expect to send out close to 130,000 ballots by the end of this week!
Vote-by-mail & early-voting ballots are projected to make up 30-35% of the total ballots cast this election. Right now, we project close to 45% turnout with approximately 400,000 total ballots cast. We will have a better idea of what turnout will be as we get closer to Election Day.
During his remarks, Director McDonald emphasized the importance of voting. He said, “These ballots represent the democratic voices of tens of thousands of people who will soon be voting. I’m happy to say they will begin arriving in mailboxes later this week.”
Director McDonald also encourages voting by mail, recognizing that Cuyahoga County will be one of the most watched counties in the State of Ohio. We have the highest number of people who vote by mail in the state, illustrating it is a solid and dependable voting method. He stated, “Voting by mail is safe & secure. Throughout my 11 years working at the Board of Elections, we have never had any major issues with delivery or return of ballots through mail. The United States Postal Service is an excellent partner & handles ballots with care & attention.”
Fun Fact: Vote-by-mail and early-voted ballots are the first to be counted on election night.
Voters can track their absentee ballot with VoterNotify, a tracking tool that sends a text or email when the absentee ballot has been mailed out and again when it is received at the Board of Elections. Click here to learn more.