FitzGerald Establishes Voter Task Force; Names Members

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Nicole Dailey Jones: (216) 263-4602, (216)338-0863 or
John Kohlstrand: (216) 698-2099 or

Group will include Democratic, Republican, faith and community leaders

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced today the new Voter Task Force he has appointed to assist in making sure that voters in Cuyahoga County know that the process to vote by mail has been changed. The reason: a directive issued to all Ohio board of election in August by Secretary of State Jon Husted, which prohibited the boards of election from mass mailing applications to vote by mail.

FitzGerald and Husted came to an agreement that has the Secretary of State’s office sending an application to vote by mail to all Ohio voters in advance of next year’s presidential election. In return, FitzGerald froze a county plan to send all active Cuyahoga County voters an application to vote by mail for the November 8, 2011 election. The mailing will be replaced by a public outreach effort, which is why this new task force was created.

The Voter Task Force members are: Rob Frost, Cuyahoga County Republican Party Chairman; Stuart Garson, Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chairman; David Ellison, Green Party Central Committee Member; Cuyahoga County Council President C. Ellen Connally (D-Cleveland); Cuyahoga County Councilman Michael Gallagher (R-Strongsville); Carol Gibson, Co-President, League of Women Voters Cuyahoga Area; Pablo A. Castro III, President of the Ohio Hispanic Bar Association; Rev. Jawanza Colvin, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, Cleveland; Mike Piepsny, Executive Director, Cleveland Tenants Organization; Marsha Mockabee, President/CEO Urban League of Greater Cleveland; Harriet Applegate, Executive Secretary of the North Shore Federation of Labor; and William Tarter, Jr., President, Cleveland Young Professional Senate.

“This task force represents a good cross-section of our community and our hope is that the members of this task force will assist in getting the word out to as many voters in Cuyahoga County as possible about the change to the vote by mail process,” said FitzGerald.

"As citizens of the United States, we have been entrusted with an important constitutional right,” said task force member Pablo A. Castro III. “I would like to see the opportunity for all people to assert their voice and exercise that right to vote. I would hate to see anyone prevented from exercising one of our greatest civic duties, simply because they misunderstood or lacked the awareness of a new process."

In addition to the Voter Task Force assisting in educating voters about the new vote by mail process, local media outlets, including The Plain Dealer, have also agreed to partner with Cuyahoga County to get the message out to voters during this election cycle.

FitzGerald also made public a link that voters can use to request a vote by mail ballot application through the Board of Elections website, the first time that this has been offered in Cuyahoga County.

To request a vote by mail ballot application, voters should follow this link:  

“Since 2008 voters in Cuyahoga County have been mailed an application to vote by mail,” said FitzGerald. “Most Cuyahoga County leaders agree that encouraging voters to vote by mail reduces the risk of repeating the chaos of 2004, when dreadfully long lines plagued polling locations throughout our county. Because this process will not happen for the Nov. 8, 2011 election, the voters need to know all of the ways they can go about getting a vote by mail application. This new link is one way voters can get this application.”