Within a month, US voters will go to the polls to vote. Citizens will participate in elections for all 435 US House seats, and for 35 Senate seats (two special elections, in Minnesota and in Mississippi, and 33 regular Senate elections, one of which is here in Ohio). In addition, all six major Ohio statewide offices are up for election, as well as statehouse representatives, Ohio Supreme Court Justices and other judgeship races, local ballot initiatives, and Issue 1, concerning a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution to Reduce Penalties for Crimes of Obtaining, Possessing, and Using Illegal Drugs. Citizens of the Buckeye State get to weigh in on a large number of elected positions and a large number of issues. This year is no exception.
The deadline to register to vote – an absolute qualifying criterion for participating in the general elections – is Tuesday, October 9. If you are not registered to vote in Ohio, you cannot cast a ballot on November 6.
How do persons in Ohio register to vote? The Ohio Secretary of State’s office has information about voter registration here. For CWRU students who wish to vote where they live, they can register to vote by stopping by CWRU’s Center for Civic Engagement (CCEL) on the first floor of the Tinkham Veale University Center.
Students can also arrange to register online, using the CCEL website or the Secretary of State’s website. To register online, you must have an Ohio driver’s license and a US Social Security number. To register in person, you do not need to have an Ohio driver’s license or a photo ID; see the Secretary of State’s webpage here for the necessary identification documents.
CCEL also notes that any student can go to their Residential Life Area Office to get a copy of a CWRU residence hall utility bill that proves that the student lives here; utility bills with the name and address of an Ohio resident suffice to fulfill the voter identification requirements of Ohio. For those who hope to register by mail, note that CCEL will mail voter registration forms completed by today (October 5); CCEL will provide free postage stamps for today’s mailing, as well as providing free stamps for those who intend to mail their registration forms on their own.
Students can also register to vote by going to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections:
Get Directions to Cuyahoga County Board of Elections
2925 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
(Monday – Friday)
Telephone: (216) 443-3200
Fax: (216) 443-6633
What if you live out of state? CCEL shares the following information:
“Out-of-state students can register to vote in the State of Ohio using their school address, if they affirm that they intend on living in the state. As the US Supreme Court ruled in 1979, this is entirely at their discretion, and they do not need to provide proof of this intention, nor are they in any legal jeopardy if they later change their mind and move elsewhere from the Ohio school they’re attending. For more information on establishing residency in Ohio, please refer to the Student Voting Guide. If you are a US citizen, but not originally from the state of Ohio, you can also choose to register to vote in your home state.”
Why vote? Few US citizens participate in the midterm elections. In general, voter turnout is lower in the US than in other developed democracies. US voter turnout is particularly low in midterm elections, which have less information and less media coverage than do elections in a presidential election year. See herefor detailed information about voter turnout in the US between 1916 and 2016. Although Ohioans are relatively highly ranked among voters who participate in presidential elections (where, in a swing state, Buckeyes are subject to intensive campaign advertising and multiple visits by presidential candidates), the Ohio record for voter turnout in the 2014 midterm elections was 36.2%. Voter turnout in 2014 nationwide was the lowest recorded turnout in midterm elections since 1942.
Younger voters now constitute a larger number of eligible voters than do “baby boomers” and older voters, but younger voters turn out to vote at a much lower rate.
It is often said that those who don’t vote in an election don’t get to complain about the outcome. More accurately, however, is the reality that those who don’t vote in an election will nonetheless experience the results, sometimes only for the brief election cycle but sometimes for the remainder of their adult lives. For example, the US Congress, constitutionally empowered with the sole authority to regulate bankruptcy law, chose to exclude student loans from bankruptcy protections. The Student Loan Borrowers Bill of Rights Act of 2017was introduced in the House in July 2017, but no action has been taken on the bill. It is worth noting that this kind of legislation, important to students, is being proposed post-Amendment XXVI, an amendment that enfranchised everyone eighteen years of age and older. For nearly half a century, young adults have been included in our national and state electorates – but some of us can remember being excluded from voting on the basis of our age, even as some of us were being drafted and sent to war. Who holds office makes a difference in policy terms, and voting still determines who holds office.
Making Sense of It All. The Department of Political Science will be convening to watch the impact of the 2018 vote. We will hold our biennial Election Night Watch Party on November 6, starting at 7:00pm. Please join us in Mather House 100 for pizza, political science commentary, and some political perspective. I look forward to seeing you there!
With all best wishes,
Flora Stone Mather Professor
Chair, Department of Political Science
Friday Lunch: The Power to Pardon
October 5, 12:30-1:30pm, Mather House 100
What are the bounds, norms, and risks of presidents’ power to pardon? Mike Benza, a leading expert on death penalty and other aspects of constitutional criminal law, joins us to discuss the issues.
Meet Local and State Candidates for Various Offices
October 6, 8-11:30am, Mt. Gillion Baptist Church, 7025 Cedar Ave
The Voter Awareness Committee of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland Guild will be hosting their annual Candidates Forum Breakfast to give voters the opportunity to meet local and state candidates for various offices.
Ohio Ballot Beat: Issue 1
October 8, 12-1:30pm, The City Club of Cleveland
The City Club Discusses both sides of Issue 1: To Reduce Penalties for Crimes of Obtaining, Possessing, and Using Illegal Drugs. Nonmember tickets are $37.
51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of Constitutional Law
October 9, 4:30-5:30pm, The CWRU Law School, Moot Courtroom
The Honorable Jeffery Sutton, former judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, discusses how American Constitutional Law should account for the role of the state courts and state constitutions, together with the federal courts and the federal constitution, in protecting individual liberties. The event is free and open to the public.
Happy Dog Takes on the World
October 9, 7:30-8:45pm, Happy Dog 5081 Detroit Road
Join the Cleveland Council on World Affairs, the City Club of Cleveland, Global Cleveland, International Partners in Mission, and the Northeast Ohio Consortium for Middle Eastern Studies (NOCMES) for a conversation on the evolving state of immigration, why women and children from El Salvador and Nicaragua flee to the U.S., and how the proposed changes to immigration legislation affects those seeking a new home.
The Myths and Realities of Wrongful Convictions in Popular Culture
October 10, 7pm, Landmark Centre Building
Author Jennifer Thompson will discuss her memoir, Picking Cotton, which recounts her experience as a rape survivor in the judicial system and the wrongful conviction of the man she identified as her rapist. Ms. Thompson will also discuss her work since then for both rape victims and those falsely accused of rape and other crimes. Event is free, advanced registration is recommended.
After the Storm: The Future of Philanthropy and Investment in Puerto Rico
October 11, 12pm, The City Club of Cleveland
Where does Puerto Rico go from here? How can leaders attract more philanthropic investment to a region of the U.S. that, while entirely comprised of American citizens, is often seen as foreign? And what preparations are being made in anticipation of this year’s hurricane season? Nonmember tickets are $37.
Lives and Livelihoods under Occupation: Israeli Policies & Practices in the Opt
October 11, 4:30-5:30pm, The CWRU Law School, Moot Courtroom
The presentation will discuss the impacts of restrictions on family unification, collective punishment, resource exploitation, and other policies used by Israel in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Cases will be examined in light of Israel’s duties as occupying power under international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The event is free and open to the public.
Capturing the Flag Film Screening
October 25, 6:30-8:30pm, Mather House 100
This unexpected story about American democracy traces a tight-knit group of friends as they travel to Cumberland County, North Carolina – the 2016 epicenter of voter suppression – intent on proving the big idea that American democracy can be defended by small acts of individual citizens. A discussion will follow. View the trailer here. RSVP to email@example.com.
Internship and Fellowship Opportunities
Rhodes and Fulbright Information Sessions
October 6, 11-11:50am, Thwing Center
As part of the Fall Leadership Conference, this workshop examines what it takes to win one of these post-graduate fellowships for study, research, or teaching overseas. Register online here.
National Fellowships and Scholarships Information Session
October 10, 4-5pm, Sears Building Room 447
The session will cover eligibility requirements and application processes for the Boren, Fulbright, Goldwater, Marshall, Rhodes and Truman scholarships/fellowships, as well as many others. Learn what it takes to win one of these prestigious awards. For more information, visit the Undergraduate Studies website.
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
CHCI’s paid internships offer Latino undergraduate students experience what it’s like to work in a congressional office, while participating in weekly professional and leadership development and civic engagement through community service. Applications for Spring 2019 close October 15.
Senator Rob Portman
The Office of Senator Portman hosts interns in our Washington, DC and state offices year-round, providing an opportunity for Ohioans and students at Ohio colleges and universities to gain experience working for the people of Ohio in the US Senate. Spring 2019 applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
Social Justice Scholars Study Group
The Social Justice Institute invites first-years, sophomores and juniors to apply for the Social Justice Scholars study group. Accepted applicants will receive a $500 stipend for their full participation. Over the course of spring semester 2019, accepted applicants will gather with Social Justice Institute Co-Director John Flores to discuss four books and several short primers. Students interested in applying should submit a brief one-page statement that explains why they are interested in joining Social Justice Scholars, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, Nov. 2.
Previously posted opportunities can be found on the department webpage. Please make sure to check regularly as to not miss approaching deadlines!
City Club of Cleveland
The City Club of Cleveland has two open positions: part-time Office and Customer Experience Coordinator (applicants should send resume and cover letter to CFO Julie Kelly, email@example.com) and full-time Membership and Advancement Manager (applications should send their resume and cover letter to Director of Advancement Noelle Celeste, firstname.lastname@example.org).
A Little Extra…