Ohio’s election chief encouraging young people to register to vote

Ohio’s chief election official is traveling the state telling young people elections matter and they should be active participants.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose is going to high schools encouraging juniors and seniors to register to vote — which they can do in 2019 so long as they will turn 18 by Election Day — and why it matters to be involved.

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“(Voting for) the person living in the White House, that may matter, but the person working in the school house or the courthouse probably has a bigger impact on your daily life than the folks in Washington, and those decisions are made this November,” LaRose recently said to a group of juniors at Shroder High School in Cincinnati.

“You’re going to be voting on local members and who’s going to serving on the school board and city government, things that really matter.”

This November, voters will decide on local races, including city and village councils, boards of trustees and school boards, as well as local tax issues. LaRose said these elections are impact Ohioans more than the “big elections” for president, which is why he and others “are trying to get people motivated.”

LaRose also said “it’s pretty cool” to be able to vote as a 17-year-old in a nominating primary election in March 2020, which they can do if students turn 18 by the November 2020 election.

“You’ll be one of the few people that gets to vote when you’re 17,” he said told the Cincinnati high school students. “And you can take advantage of that opportunity.”

Butler County Board of Elections works to involve young people in the election process, including recruiting high school seniors. They actively recruit high school students to work the polls for Ohio's Youth at the Booth program, said board of elections Director Diane Noonan.

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“We use them every election,” she said.

Noonan said officials engage the students in the process of early voting, and stressing the importance of voting.

Warren County Board of Elections Director Brian Sleeth said officials in his office “encourage our poll workers to acknowledge first-time young voters on Election Day.”

The Warren County board provides high school government teachers with registration cards for their class, Sleeth said, but the board defers to the Secretary of State to “take the lead in educating youth about voting and registration.”

Ohioans have until Oct. 7 to register to vote, which can be done at the county board of elections office, or online at VoteOhio.gov.

Early voting starts on Oct. 8, which is the first of 28 days of in-person voting opportunities in Ohio. Absentee ballots can also be mailed to Ohioans who request them. Mailed ballots will be sent on Oct. 8 to those who request them before the first day of early voting.

There are more than 243,600 registered voters in Butler County, and more than 157,000 registered voters in Warren County. However, voter turnout is expected to be low based on historic election data.

In Butler County, less than 30 percent of registered voters are likely to participate, based on historic election data. It could be around 30 percent in Warren County, based on historic election data.


Voter registration deadline: Oct. 7

Early voting begins: 8 a.m. Oct. 8

Early voting ends: 2 p.m. Nov. 4

Early voting options: Request an absentee ballot online at Vote.Ohio.gov or at the board of elections office, or go to the elections office to cast an early voting ballot

Voter registration numbers: 243,600 in Butler County and 157,000 in Warren County

How to register to vote: Visit Vote.Ohio.gov to register online or visit your local board of elections office

Butler County Board of Elections address and phone: 1802 Princeton Road, Hamilton; 513-887-3700

Warren County Board of Elections address and phone: 520 Justice Drive, Lebanon; 513-695-1358

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