FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 7, 2016
Ohio Organizing Collaborative Registers 50,000 Ohioans (and Counting) to Vote
Coalition of religious, student, and community groups plans to register 150,000 voters this year
Columbus, OH – Today, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC) announced it has registered more than 50,000 Ohioans to vote. The OOC plans to register 150,000 voters by the October deadline.
“The Ohio Organizing Collaborative is committed to ensuring that every Ohioan has the opportunity to engage in the democratic process,” said Rev. Michael Harrison, OOC Board Chair and pastor at Union Baptist Church in Youngstown. “By registering voters and organizing in communities, we are building transformative power for social, racial, and economic justice in our state.”
This announcement comes days after a Reuters investigation revealed that as many as 144,000 voters have been removed from voting rolls and disenfranchised in Ohio’s three largest counties. The investigation also noted that people of color were disproportionately impacted by these voter purges.
“In the heavily African-American neighborhoods near downtown [Cincinnati], more than 10 percent of registered voters have been removed due to inactivity since 2012,” Reuters reported. “In suburban Indian Hill, only 4 percent have been purged due to inactivity.”
“When our state is actively disenfranchising voters, we are called upon as people of faith to protect one another by ensuring that our neighbors’ voices are not silenced,” said Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp of Temple Sholom in Cincinnati. “In just a few short months, with thousands of newly registered voters, our voices will be ringing out across our state in November.”
In addition to registering these voters, the OOC will also work to ensure that they turn out to vote in November and engage them in conversations about organizing to address issues in their communities.
Statewide elections in Ohio are often won or lost by 150,000 or fewer votes: in 2004, George W. Bush won Ohio by 119,000 votes; in 2010 John Kasich won by fewer than 80,000 votes.
A background memo on the OOC’s voter registration program can be found here.
Formed in 2007, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative is an innovative statewide organization uniting community organizations, faith institutions, labor unions and policy groups across Ohio. The coalition includes 20 organizations with members in every major metropolitan area across the state, working on issues including minimum wage reform, ending mass incarceration, and combatting climate change.