This article is for all US citizens. Since retiring from NASA Glenn Research Center at the end of December, I have become a volunteer at the LGBT Community Center. I am also a member of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland. The Greater Cleveland League has local chapters like Lakewood and Shaker Heights. All these chapters are under the League of Women Voters Ohio. The League of Women Voters is a national nonpartisan, grassroots organization working to protect and expand voting rights and ensure everyone is represented in our democratic republic. The League empowers voters and defends democracy through advocacy, education, and litigation, at the local, state, and national levels. I invite all US citizens to become members.

My passion is voter registration. Since March I have attended several US citizen naturalization ceremonies in the Federal Courthouse building. These people being naturalized have come from other countries and have decided to become US citizens. Their backgrounds are as diverse as all of those in Lakewood and other communities. These new US citizens come from many different countries (there were 26 countries represented at one ceremony). As the presiding federal judge at one ceremony said, each new citizen is an integral part of the most diverse population in the world. Each member of this population, when they reach the age of 18 has the right to vote in each local, state and federal election.

Yes, it is a right that needs to be exercised. There are certain criteria that must be met to vote but these obstacles are minor compared to the enormous satisfaction one gets when they vote. As a voter you have the opportunity to influence gender identity issues, transgender issues, marriage issues and abortion issues to name a few. No matter what your highest priority issue is, by voting you have a chance to dictate what the policy for that issue can be. A democratic republic cannot survive if the eligible voters do not vote.

Once you register to vote, you now need to obtain information about each candidate for every office and each issue on the ballot. That means each candidate and issue on the local level, state level and federal level. The best way to become informed is the go to the League’s nonpartisan website- VOTE411. That’s VOTE411. You will find personal and issue information on each candidate. Do not rely on biased television ads, candidate websites or political party affiliated websites. Do not let other people dictate what the laws are going to be. Participate by voting and let your views be known.

As an anecdote there are many obstacles if you want to vote while incarcerated. Voting is not high on the list of things to do while in jail, but you CAN vote under certain circumstances. People with misdemeanor charges and those awaiting trial can vote. There is a group called Freedom Bloc that helps individuals in jail vote. If you know of someone who is incarcerated and wants to vote, please contact Freedom Bloc or the League.

Many people who are registered to vote may not realize that if you move, even just down the block, you have to register with your new address. Changing the address where your mail is delivered has nothing to do with voting. You must complete a voter registration form with your new address.

The League and the Board of Elections in each county has voter registration forms. It only takes a few minutes to register. But the satisfaction is enormous.

If you are already a registered voter- PLEASE  VOTE on August 2nd (primany) and November 8th (general election).

If you are not registered to vote- PLEASE REGISTER by October 8th and VOTE on November 8th.

Jack Weigand has been a Lakewood resident for 51 years. He recently retired from NASA Glenn Research Center and is a volunteer at the LGBT Community Center and the League of Women Voters. He enjoys golf and gardening.

Jack Weigand

Lakewood resident for 51 years. Recently retired from NASA Glenn Research Center. Volunteer at LGBT Community Center and League of Women Voters. Enjoy olf and gardening.

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Volume 18, Issue 14, Posted 7:00 PM, 07.20.2022