Every month, hundreds of immigrants are sworn in as United States citizens in the City of Cleveland. These joyous and momentous ceremonies occur at the conclusion of the process of applying for U.S. citizenship known as naturalization.
After naturalization, foreign-born citizens enjoy the benefits, rights and responsibilities of American-born citizens as outlined in the Constitution. One of the greatest rights we have as American citizens is our right to vote. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections proudly attends each naturalization ceremony to help our newest citizens register to vote to ensure that they, too, can have a voice in America’s democracy.
Witnessing the excitement, joy and pride in the faces of our newest citizens and their families is a special experience. It is also extraordinary to hear how many different countries are represented at each ceremony and to know that those cultures help shape our great nation. Many of our new citizens are eager to register to vote and do so with pride.
New citizens are also welcomed by volunteers and staff from Global Cleveland, an organization committed to helping newcomers from around the world find success in Greater Cleveland. Volunteers are often needed to help out during the naturalization ceremonies which occur on the first and third Fridays of each month at the Carl B. Stokes U.S. Court House. Visit the volunteering page on their website to get involved.
Some new citizens have also opted to take advantage of Ohio’s new online voter registration system. As of January 1, 2017, any eligible voter may register or update their registration online so long as they are in the Bureau of Motor Vehicles database.