FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2020
Contact: Domenica Ghanem, [email protected], 609 457 5663
The Ohio Organizing Collaborative Calls for More Accessible Vote-By-Mail Procedures By November
The group talked to 220,000 Ohio voters about the vote-by-mail process leading up to the primary
(Columbus, OH) – On Tuesday, Ohio was the first state to hold its election almost entirely by mail-in votes. When state officials made the last-minute decision to extend the election a few weeks ago, many voters were confused about the new process.
The Ohio Organizing Collaborative teamed up with Community Change Action and, using an app called OutVote that connects organizers to voters, recruited nearly 400 volunteers in Ohio who talked to more than 220,000 of their neighbors. In these conversations, OOC encountered voters who were worried they would be disenfranchised for filling out forms incorrectly or missing deadlines. OOC provided voter information about deadlines, the absentee application process, and how to turn in ballots.
Prentiss Haney, Co-Executive Director of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative said:
“Most black voters and young voters in Ohio have never cast their ballot by mail prior to this primary election. So the Ohio Organizing Collaborative made sure every voter we talked to understood the new process.
The state’s elections department created a process mired in hurdles, with some voters waiting weeks for an application, or getting a last-minute response that their application was filled out incorrectly. OOC stepped in to provide voters step-by-step instructions on how to cast their ballot by mail, clarifying what was for many a very confusing process. Before the general election, Ohio and other states need to do a public voter education campaign on the process and send applications to every voter via email so voters are not disenfranchised during the pandemic. And we need Congress to make election administration and national vote-by-mail a top priority in the next stimulus package.
Luckily, we have an army of volunteers who aren’t going to disappear after this primary. They’re going to continue to engage their family and friends until we have a vote-by-mail system that’s safe and accessible for all voters.”
Mike Griffin, Electoral Organizer at Community Change Action said:
“Voters should never have to choose between their right to vote or their health. All voters must have the option to vote by mail and educating and organizing voters is the only way to ensure we maintain a functioning democracy.
We are building partnerships with organizations around the country, like OOC, to implement creative strategies and new apps like OutVote, so they can lead the way in reaching exponentially more people and arming them with all the information they need. This has been key in safe and successful organizing in the time of physical distancing.”
The Ohio Organizing Collaborative builds transformative relational power with everyday Ohioans for statewide social, racial, and economic justice.
Community Change Action is a national social justice organization that builds the power of low-income people, especially people of color, to fight for a society where everyone can thrive.