League of Women Voters educators have teamed up with volunteer registrars from Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates (NOVA) to visit 23 high schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, for the purpose of inaugurating hundreds of Cleveland seniors into an adult life of purposeful, informed citizenship.
Twenty volunteers from the LWV Cuyahoga Area and Cleveland Area will fan out with their NOVA partners over two weeks from September 23 to October 4. This period coincides with the National Voter Registration Day on September 24, being observed by Leagues of Women Voters and other voter advocacy groups nationwide.
Administrators of the Cleveland schools have helped to coordinate these events in all the high schools. LWV Cleveland Area president Penny Jeffrey, NOVA project chair Pearl Livingstone, and several key lieutenants have recruited and trained all the volunteers. The LWV Cleveland Area’s Education Fund has also published a FAQ brochure for all new registrants to take home: “A First Voter’s Guide to Ohio Registration and Voting Procedures.”
The Board of Elections has provided registration materials, including oversized Registration Forms for each classroom and printouts of a sample Cleveland ballot for each student. League educators, equipped with “November 5 Decisions” posters, will be fortified by Senior English teachers who have included voter-preparation in their current “Real Life Skills” instructional units. And the school district also plans to ferry newly registered voters to the Board of Elections in mid-October, so that they are all able to take advantage of early voting.
“What a great way to make a difference in Cleveland’s civic life!” exclaimed LWV volunteer Lynda Mayer at the September 19 training session in Cleveland Heights. “Who out there has ever forgotten the first time he or she voted?” fellow LWV volunteer, Carol Gibson, chimed in. This shows democracy is not a spectator sport. NOVA’s Pearl Livingstone sees voting as nothing short of a “Rite of Passage” into democratic citizenship. For 10 days, Mayer, Gibson, Livingstone and their combined forces will be practicing what they preach.