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Public forum discusses voting rights

Public forum discusses voting rights

  • EARLYVOTE06-8

    Daniel, center right, and Katina Johnson, right, joined other members of their fraternity and sorority in a "Souls to the Polls" push on the second-to-last day of early voting Sunday, November 5, 2017, at the Lucas County Early Voting Center in Toledo.

    The Blade/Katie Rausch
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  • LaVera-Scott-jpg-1

    LaVera Scott

Sue Brotje of Perrysburg could be doing any number of things on a Monday night, from house chores to recreational activities.

She chose to attend an informational forum on voting rights.

“[I'm here] just to hear them talk and to find out whether there's anything voting-wise that I haven't heard,” Ms. Brotje said.

She was one of about 30 people who came to the Toledo Lucas County Public Library Maumee branch Monday, just three weeks before the May 8 primary election, to hear an expert panel discuss voting rights issues ranging from cybersecurity to gerrymandering.

“For example,” Ms. Brotje said, “if they change the voting place and the word doesn't get out to people, this dissuades them from voting.”

Peggy Clancy of Toledo, who sat next to Ms. Brotje, said that is exactly what happened to her.

“My Point Place voting location changed this time,” Ms. Clancy said. “And I'm concerned that people might not be aware of that.”

LaVera-Scott-jpg-1

LaVera Scott

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LaVera Scott, Lucas County Board of Elections director, said “there's a lot of miscommunication” in the community regarding voting.

“People really don't understand that in order to cast a vote in Ohio, you don't have to have a picture ID. ... Not truly understanding what registration deadlines are, how to provisionally vote, and the fact that they can check their voter registration [and] their absentee [ballot status] ... just by accessing a computer.”

Area voters who did not attend the meeting could have those and most other questions answered by logging onto the board's website at LucasCountyVotes.org, she said.

Ms. Scott was one of four panelists at the forum. Others were state Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D., Kent), a candidate for Ohio secretary of state; Jason Hill, an attorney and election law expert, and Kwinlyn Tyler, a community organizer with United Citizen Power. Ashley Bunn, a board member of the the NAACP's Toledo branch, moderated.

The forum was sponsored by Glass City Indivisible, Toledo Indivisible, Northwest Ohio Feminist Alliance Indivisible, the League of Women Voters – Lucas County, and the Community Solidarity Response Network.

“It's such a complex [voting] system,” Mr. Hill said. “I don't think people really think about it — how complex it is — until they are negatively affected to one degree or another.”

Contact Mike Sigov at sigov@theblade.com419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.

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