Make your voice count for your community

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Engaged residents make their communities stronger. Now more than ever, it is vital that Greater Clevelanders exercise their civic rights by voting, taking the census and holding their government leaders accountable. Here are three simple ways to make your voice count for your community: 

Vote

Early voting in Ohio has begun!

  • Check your voter registration status here.
  • Make a plan to vote early at your local county board of elections office.
  • Or, request an absentee (vote-by-mail) ballot here. It’s recommended that you request a ballot as early as possible due to expected delays and increased demand for absentee ballots this year. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2. If you are concerned about mail delays, you can drop your completed ballot at a secure ballot drop box. Find your county’s ballot drop box here:

Check out this video from The Refugee Response with simple instructions and important information for Cuyahoga County voters:

Find additional resources, including multilingual videos, on The Refugee Response’s YouTube page here.

Looking for nonpartisan voting information and resources? Cleveland Votes offers trusted information and support for local voters. Northeast Ohio Voter Advocacy (NOVA) is promoting voter registration and engagement across our region.

The League of Women Voters’ VOTE411 website is another great resource where you can register to vote, check your voter registration status and find out what’s on your ballot.

Want to lead a voter engagement effort in your neighborhood? In partnership with Common Ground, Neighborhood Connections is distributing Common Ground “Count Me In” grants to support resident-led groups, small nonprofits, and small faith-based organizations in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties leading nonpartisan “get out the vote” efforts. Small grants up to $2,500 are available. Learn more and apply here.

Beginning on Sept. 28, The City Club of Cleveland launched its 5 Days for Democracy project to encourage people to take time each day to consider what democracy means to them. Learn more and design your own 5 Days for Democracy challenge here.  

Why vote? For many people, the motivation for casting their ballot is deeply personal. Check out NAACP Cleveland’s #WhyIVote series on Facebook and Instagram, where local residents are sharing the reasons they vote. Architect and philanthropist Robert Madison and Cleveland Foundation Senior Vice President for Strategy Lillian Kuri were the first two people to be featured in the series!

Take the census

The census only happens once every 10 years, but the data it collects can have a major impact on our daily lives. Census data determines everything from political representation to disaster preparedness. Census data also determines how much federal money reaches each state and local community for important health, social services, infrastructure, safety and educational programs. Estimates show that for each person not counted in Ohio in 2010, there was a loss of $12,000 over the last decade. In cities like Cleveland, where the census response rate is around 50%, those lost dollars add up. Cleveland has one of the lowest census response rates in the U.S. for a city its size; in some neighborhoods, the response rate is less than 30%. The good news? We still have time to help every person in our community count in the 2020 census! There are three ways to respond to the census – online, by phone or by paper questionnaire. It takes less than 10 minutes, and assistance is available in various languages. Learn more at 2020census.gov.

We’re proud to be part of a coalition of partners, including Cleveland Votes and Children’s Defense Fund – Ohio, supporting efforts to get a complete census count in Cleveland this year. Find local census information and resources at www.completecountcle.org.

Become a Cleveland Documenter

The decisions being made by city and county officials are more important than ever, but the vast majority of meetings where these decisions are made receive no media coverage and produce minimal records. Cleveland Documenters is a one-year pilot program to recruit, train and pay Greater Clevelanders to document official meetings of the Cuyahoga County and City of Cleveland governments in an effort to promote accountability and transparency and to expand the toolbox for residents to take action in their communities. Learn more and sign up to become a Cleveland Documenter here.

These are just a few steps you can take to strengthen our democracy and community. What will you do to make sure your voice is counted this year? We invite you to share in the comment section below!

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