In June, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland adopted a set of policy recommendations to help achieve safe and accessible elections in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guided by our Jewish values and our commitment to public health, we strongly believe that people should not have to choose between their health, the health of others and exercising the right to vote.

To this end, election officials must take all possible steps to ensure the ability of all eligible Ohioans to register by Oct. 5 to vote, provide for healthy election day polling places, enable expanded in-person early voting and enhance vote-by-mail efforts. Together, these actions would help bend the ballot curve and make this is a successful and safe election.

We believe voting early by mail or in person at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, starting Oct. 6, will help reduce the potential exposure for voters and election workers that long lines for in-person voting on Election Day would bring. Similarly, we support expanded early in-person voting days and hours, including evenings and weekends to further mitigate the risk of exposure due to long lines.

Vote-by-mail is a time-tested way to vote that has been used successfully in Ohio for many years, as in many other states, without a pattern of partisan bias or elevated risk of voter fraud. Voters should request their mail-in ballot early and mail it or return it to the drop box at the board of elections as soon as possible.

We are grateful that Ohio is already a no excuse, vote-by-mail state and are pleased that all registered voters are being mailed ballot requests. We urge policymakers to consider additional steps to enfranchise all voters.

Finally, we must take every effort to make sure all of these changes are communicated in a clear, consistent, accurate and frequent manner to the public. We encourage election officials and non-partisan organizations to work together to make all voters aware of changes to election procedures, important dates and locations, and to promote bending the ballot curve by voting early by mail or at the board of elections.

In the meantime, there are several action steps we can all take:

• Make a voting plan and urge your friends, families and neighbors to do the same.

• Check your voter registration status at voteohio.gov.

• Return your absentee ballot request form right away and then vote as soon as you receive your ballot. You can drop your ballot at the secure drop box at the board of elections 24 hours a day.

• Encourage the less vulnerable young people in your life to be poll workers. Sign up at voteohio.gov.

Together let’s ensure a safe and accessible election this November.

J. David Heller, Board Chair

Jewish Federation of Cleveland

Gregg Levine, Chair

Community Relations Committee

Jewish Federation of Cleveland


Publisher’s Note: Gregg Levine is a member of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company Board of Directors.

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Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

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