From brews to hairdos, Ohio is utilizing businesses to register voters and recruit poll workers
The state is partnering with different businesses, community groups, and individuals to ramp up voter registration and to try and recruit more poll workers for the November general election in Ohio.
The Ohio Secretary of State’s office is promoting their initiatives which includes Styling for Democracy, a program that works with cosmetologists, barbers, and schools to sign up their staff up to be poll workers, register friends and customers to vote, and raise awareness about absentee ballots. According to the secretary of state’s office, more than 350 businesses have participated.
There’s another campaign that works with the craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries – called Raise a Glass to Democracy – to ramp up participation in the elections.
Raise a Glass distributes voter registration and other elections information at the alcohol establishments as well as on the labels of their products. That means participating companies will feature wine bottles, liquor bottles, and beer cans with stickers with the words “Every Vote Count” along with a website that directs people to more information. More than 100 establishments are participating in the program.
Ohio also has the Restore Your Right to Vote program which allows people who have been convicted of a felony but have been released from prison to register to vote.
As Secretary of State Frank LaRose pointed out, other states do not allow formerly incarcerated people to regain their right to vote. But not in Ohio.
“Once you have done your time, once you've been involved in the criminal justice system and then gotten out, that you can restore your right to vote you can become a registered voter again,” said LaRose.
LaRose is a Republican running for re-election against Democratic candidate for Secretary of State Chelsea Clark and independent candidate Terpsehore Maras.
Ohio’s political parties also have their own election outreach efforts. The Ohio Democratic Party has a presence on college campuses with campus organizers to register voters as well as a team that recruits people to be Democratic-registered poll workers.
"Ohio Democrats are registering voters across the state with a special emphasis on college campuses. We have organizers on 15 college campuses across the state who have registered thousands of new voters who are excited to send Republicans a message this year,” said Matt Keyes, Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson.
The Ohio Republican Party also has a campus voter registration effort that’s coordinated by a full-time staffer with the party who works with college Republican groups. The party also has field organizers as part of an effort between the state party, the Republican National Committee, and county Republican organizations.
“They in turn are provided the resources to train their volunteers. This helps us maximize our efforts to ensure everyone has the knowledge and tools they need to register new voters, or help those who may have had a life event that requires them to update their registration,” said Dan Lusheck, Ohio Republican Party spokesperson.
As of Monday, the state had 7,994,624 people registered to vote in Ohio.
The deadline to register to vote is October 11 and early in-person and mail-in absentee voting begins on October 12.