Monday, October 30, 2000

New voters get extra push

Rally teaches how to use machines

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Organizers for the Vote 2000 voter registration campaign know signing up 10,000 people for an election is one feat and getting them to the polls Nov. 7 is another.

        On Sunday they enticed voters with music, a live radio show and practice voting booths at Integrity Hall in Bond Hill.

        “This is for first-time voters and maybe people who haven't voted in a long time,” said David Crowley, coordinator for the nonpartisan Vote 2000 campaign, as music blared from the parking lot and politicians stood by to talk with potential voters.

        Maya Emery of North Avondale turns 18 on Election Day and will be one of those first-time voters. She practiced Sunday at one of the mock booths set up at the Promote the Vote Celebration.

        Her friend Camille Phillips of North Avondale, who turned 18 on Oct. 19, said, “I didn't know there were so many issues on the ballot.”

        Vote 2000 works with organizations including the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, the AFL-CIO and Cincinnatians Active to Support Education (CASE).

        Mr. Crowley said the group has registered about 10,000 voters in the TriState since Aug.1.

        Oct. 10 was the last day to register to vote in Ohio.

        About 50 people showed up for the Sunday celebration, including organizers and politicians. Many were young people from Cincinnati Public Schools who had promoted voter registration in their respective schools.

        The event was organized around a live radio show, “Reece Back-to-Back Live,” broadcast on WDBZ-1230 AM, and emceed by City Councilwoman Alicia Reece and her father, Steve Reece, who owns Integrity Hall.

        Michael Babush, 77, who moved to Cincinnati from Ukraine in 1994, was ushered on stage to make a comment after he cast his practice vote.

        “In May 1999, I took citizen test,” Mr. Babush said, smiling broadly. “I am glad to vote first time in America.”


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