Divide and conquer: Valley groups come together to register voters in Mahoning County

Local News

The Valley Votes Coalition consists of many organizations, including YWCA Mahoning County and the Jewish Community Relations Council

(WKBN) – Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day and everywhere across the country, groups of people will be helping others register to vote.

Locally, multiple groups have joined together to help reach as many voters as possible in Mahoning County.

The Valley Votes Coalition consists of many organizations, including the League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown, YWCA Mahoning County and the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Even if you’ve registered in the past, you may need to re-register for reasons such as moving or if you haven’t voted in a while.

“So we want to make sure that people are aware, whether they are currently registered or purged. If you did not vote in the last major election cycle, you could have been purged from the voter rolls,” said YWCA CEO Leah Merritt.

Having an absentee ballot does not automatically register you.

“If you get an absentee ballot, you still have to be a registered voter to use the absentee ballot. Just applying for the absentee ballot alone does not register you,” Merritt said.

One of the many reasons Merritt says people don’t register is because they don’t want jury duty.

“If you have a driver’s license, there’s a likelihood you could be selected for jury duty as well. So they just don’t pull from the candidate of registered voters,” Merritt said.

Merritt said they also try to make sure voters understand what each candidate stands for.

“What are the issues at the state and local level? What levies are happening? What candidates are running? What are the responses of the candidates to certain questions?” Merritt said. “So that voters know where they stand and can make educated decisions.”

As important as national elections are, Merritt said local and state elections are just as significant.

“We’re hoping to see a great increase in registration and in turnout because people think they only want to vote at the national but again, you got to vote in those local ones,” Merritt said.

If you’re interested in registering and live in Mahoning County, the following locations will be open to the public on Tuesday:
— YWCA Mahoning County: 25 W. Rayen Ave.
— Davis Family YMCA: 45 McClurg Rd.
— YMCA Downtown: 17 N. Champion St.
— Oak Hill Collaborative: 507 Oak Hill Ave.
— Jewish Community Center: 505 Gypsy Ln.
— Ohio Urban Renaissance, Inc.: 421 North Ave.
— Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (all locations)

Information to register in other local counties is available here.

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