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Secretary LaRose Wins U.S. Election Assistance Commission 2020 Clearinghouse Award

LaRose is One of Just Four Secretaries of State Recognized for Annual Award

COLUMBUS – The annual “Clearie” awards, hosted by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, recognized Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose for innovative voter outreach and poll worker recruitment programs that led to Ohio’s most successful election ever. Previous state records were shattered with 8+ million Ohioans registered and almost 6 million ballots cast producing an all-time high 74% statewide voter turnout.

Historically, 65% of Ohio’s poll workers have been over the age of 60, making the dangers of COVID-19 a significant obstacle towards making sure  polling locations were fully staffed on Election Day. As a result of Secretary LaRose’s groundbreaking poll worker recruitment efforts, more than 56,000 Ohioans were trained and ready to serve as poll workers, exceeding the statewide goal that represented 150% of the minimum number of poll workers needed on Election Day. This number was updated online weekly leading up to the election on Ohio’s first-ever poll worker tracker to encourage recruitment.

Ohio wouldn’t have had our most successful election ever without the 56,000 patriotic Ohioans who stepped up when our state needed them,” said LaRose. “This award belongs to each one of them.”

137 local and state programs were submitted to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), with winners selected by two independent panels of election officials from the EAC’s advisory boards.

“The number of Clearie submissions highlights that even though this was a challenging election year, officials continue to modernize and develop programming that will serve as helpful best practices for the coming years,” said EAC Chairman Donald Palmer.  “The job of an election official is never done, and we hope to see even more submissions and exceptional examples in 2021. The Clearie winners and all election officials should be incredibly proud of the work they did to ensure a successful 2020 election. These best practices are valuable resources as officials continue to administer elections during the pandemic and for years to come.”

Secretary LaRose was one of just four Secretaries of State  to win a Clearie, with the rest of the awards going to local boards of elections and elections administrators.

Results of Poll Worker Recruitment:

  • Goal for Committed and Trained Poll Workers: 55,165
  • Minimum Number of Poll Workers Required to Staff All Locations: 36,775
  • Current Number of Committed Poll Workers: 56,789

Poll Worker Recruitment Efforts:

Professionals Getting Education Credit to Serve

  • Lawyers for Liberty -- Attorneys received required continuing legal education credits for being a poll workers this year. 1,072 lawyers served as poll worker under this program.
  • The Accountancy Board of Ohio (ABO) allowed Ohio Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) to obtain required Continuing Public Education (CPE) general credits for CPAs serving as poll workers in 2020. 
  • The Ohio Real Estate Commission awarded three hours of core law continuing education credit to active and inactive Ohio Real Estate Licensees who served as a poll worker during the Nov. 3, 2020 election.
  • Social workers earned Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for serving as poll workers on Election Day

Give a Day for Democracy

  • Partnered with businesses to offer employees the day off to be poll workers. Many business, non-profits and public-sector entities around Ohio joined this effort, including The Ohio State University.

Second Call to Duty

  • This initiative asked veterans who took an oath to defend their country to defend democracy on November 3rd.

Youth at the Booth

  • In Ohio, 17-year-old high school seniors can serve as poll workers! This proved to be a great way to engage high school students in the voting process.

Voter Registration Outreach Programs:

The “Raise a Glass to Democracy” voter registration campaign began as a brainstorm between the Secretary of State’s office and Rhinegeist Brewery. With Rhinegeist’s creative support, more than 50 Ohio breweries signed up to encourage civic engagement and boost voter registration by creating a new beer and/or using the program labels. Many breweries had their beers ready for sale at their respective locations by early September, well ahead of the October 5th registration deadline. The label promotes the VoteOhio.gov website while also allowing each brewer to include their own branding.

Partnering with craft breweries, an important representation of Ohio small business, not only expanded outreach on the message of voter registration and updating current registration information, but also helped brewery owners and employees weather the COVID storm that many small businesses are facing. An updated map of each participating brewery was published for Ohioans to know which breweries were participating.

Secretary LaRose also launched “Styling for Democracy. Now Vote!” - a partnership with barbershops and salons, and the schools that feed into them, to reach more Ohio communities. For generations, beauty salons and barbershops have served as special places in neighborhoods of color – as much a social hub as they are an economic engine. They are places not only to get hair care services, but sanctuaries where neighbors can discuss politics and the issues of importance in the community. The partnership was designed to encourage members of their community to sign up to be a poll worker on November 3rd, register their family and friends to vote, and educate the community on requesting and completing absentee ballots. Resources were sent more than 100 barbershops, salons, and schools across the state.

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Rob Nichols
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