CLEVELAND — How does one provide critical information to Northeast Ohioans about safely and effectively casting their votes during a pandemic when you’re sidelined at home yourself?
That was the dilemma that a group of friends who are all Cleveland professional women couldn’t stop discussing, and it prompted them to create an informal committee and name themselves Women V.O.T.E. (Visionaries Organized To Educate).
After a series of summertime Zoom meetings to strategize, the friends – led by retired Cleveland schools administrator Pamela Smith and retired KeyBank executive Stephanie Turner – are ready for action.They now have a website, voteohio2020.com, and even have produced a panel discussion that was stream Thursday on WKYC.com, YouTube, and Facebook.
The topic of the panel was "Your Vote Matters," and it was emceed by 3News’ Leon Bibb. The panelists – who will discuss the process of registering to vote, requesting an absentee ballot, and issues related to in-person voting – were:
- U.S. Rep. Marcia L. Fudge
- James Robenalt, partner at Thompson Hine LLP and author of "Ballots and Bullets"
- Inajo Davis Chappell, partner at Ulmer & Berne LLP and Cuyahoga County Board of Elections board member and former board chair
- Rev. Marvin McMickle, Ph.D., pastor emeritus at Antioch Baptist Church
Watch it again in the player below:
A second panel, streaming at 6 p.m. on Sept. 24, will be emceed by 3News’ Romney Smith and focus on voter suppression and how to mobilize young voters. WKYC Studios is a media partner and will stream both panel discussions.
Program chair Lorna Wisham of Women V.O.T.E. said the group is partnering with Karamu House to help produce and market the informational content. She said that their hope is to help voters feel well prepared and comfortable casting their vote, "believing and knowing that their vote truly does matter."