(WJW) — A strong message from the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Tuesday as the Cleveland Cavaliers hosted a registration drive along with Cleveland Votes and other sports teams for National Voter Registration Day. “This matters. Being a registered voter matters, voting matters,” said Ohio Sec. of State Frank LaRose.
“Voting is a big part of our DNA as an organization and we have the three-team alliance along with the Browns and Indians to amplify that platform,” said Cleveland Cavaliers CEO Len Komoroski.
The event featured a DJ, local clothing line and mascots. “It definitely makes it cooler,” said voter Steven Catuval.
LaRose was in attendance and helped some young voters complete their registration. “In a pandemic it’s harder to do the traditional voter registration drives where people are out on the streets with clipboards, people are on college campuses.”
Volunteers were on-hand to answer questions and help complete forms. “I tried registering online but couldn’t really figure out how to do it. I just moved here wasn’t sure how to register to be able to actually vote in Cleveland,” said Catuval.
Voter Attwine Robertson recently changed addresses. “I’m 60 years old. I’ve been voting since I was 18 so I’m gonna keep on.”
“It’s great to see people getting excited about an election. It’s great to see people registering and sending in their applications and hopefully voting,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish.
Those who came to the fieldhouse to register say they felt comfortable with the extra health safety precautions and would come back to vote in-person.
In November, it will be serving as a polling location for the first time, though just for three precincts, but it’s something Komoroski said they plan to continue doing. “This is really just a central location for all of Cleveland, easy to park, easy to get to.”
LaRose said he’s very confident in the health safety protocols at all the board of elections. “We bring in health experts as we devised our 48-point checklist. We’ve standardized to make sure every county board of election in the state has that federal funding from the CARES Act.” LaRose said registration is looking promising. “Ohio has been around 7.8 million registered voters for awhile. I think that maybe in the next few days we may surpass 8 million.”
And absentee ballot requests have already surpassed the total number from 2016. “As of last week, it’s 1.4 million Ohioans that have already requested absentee ballots.”
There is also still a need for poll workers. “If you don’t have enough poll workers on Election Day what may happen is that the board of elections may have to consolidate polling places at the last minute which will increase the amount of time that you’ll have to wait in line,” said Budish.
LaRose said there are several ways people can choose to vote at this time. “Four weeks of absentee voting, four weeks of early voting or safe and healthy in-person Election Day voting.”
The voter registration deadline is October 5. You can register online and find answers to voting-related questions at VoteOhio.gov.
Tuesday’s event celebrated nearly a decade of civic action of working to get people registered to vote. National Voter Registration Day has been observed since 2012.
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