In 2014, Cuyahoga County voters approved an amendment to the county charter that gives county government the charge to protect the right to vote and to undertake measures to promote voter registration. Specifically, Article XIV states that “The right to vote shall be a fundamental right in Cuyahoga County, and elections in the County shall be free and open.”
Cuyahoga County is leading efforts in voter engagement, dedicating resources and partnering with other entities to guaranty voter access and expand voter education. An early example was the county’s effort to reverse the disenfranchisement of seventeen-year-old residents eligible to vote but prevented by the Secretary of State in 2016. These efforts include:
Voting Rights Coordinator
The county hired a Voting Rights Coordinator (VRC) to work with other agencies including the seven divisions under the County Department of Health and Human Services to improve civic engagement opportunities at the county. The VRC also works to enhance the county’s voter registration efforts as required by Section VII of the National Voter Rights Act.
The VRC increases voting awareness and education throughout the county by collaborating with various government and non-profit agencies. Currently, the county’s VRC has continued establishing strong working relationships with the Cuyahoga Board of Elections, the County Libraries, North-East Ohio Voters Advocates (NOVA), Ohio GuideStone and other local entities to ensure that residents are being informed about their voting rights and have easy access to registration opportunities.
Online Voter Registration at County Libraries
County Libraries are encouraging residents to register to vote—and making it easier—by promoting voter registration in their printed program guides and online. Online voter registration was enabled in 2017 in Ohio. “Cuyahoga County Public Library is excited to support online voter registration as a way to increase civic engagement and community involvement among our county residents” said Sari Feldman, Executive Director, Cuyahoga County Public Library.
Second Annual Your Voice Matters Youth Summit
The second annual Your Voice Matters Youth Summit has been scheduled to reconvene on September 14, 2018 at the Cuyahoga Community College Jerry Sue Thornton Center. This Youth Summit is dedicated to High school students from around the county so they can be informed and empowered by community leaders about the importance of voting and civic engagement.