This week we share the first of a series of social media posts that Ohio churches and non-profits can use to help make sure every eligible voter in their community is registered and knows the options for voting safely during the pandemic. The non-partisan PSAs include a reflection on civic duty by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and a series of tips starting with the September to-do list attached this week: how to verify your registration, and tips for making a voting plan.

Next week we also plan to share a PSA on how to complete the Census so your community receives its fair share of crucial federal dollars. The chance to submit Census responses ends Sept. 30, and many communities across Ohio still have a severe undercount.

The PSAs are being created by Episcopalians from four Cincinnati parishes. The PSAs offer practical advice to reduce two risks: contracting COVID-19 and having one’s vote rejected for problems 1ranging from registration to postal delays.

As we send each PSA via eNews, we’d also like to share ways to equip voters, including roles for youth.  The September priority is checking registration status.  You can create flyers for food pantry orders.  Brave (masked) volunteers could use their smart phones in the parking lots of pantries to help clients check their registration while they wait.  Youth can post tips on social media or write chalk messages on well-traveled sidewalks.

We would love to share your ideas on safe voter outreach!  Please send them to me at arielmillerwriter@gmail.com

On the eve of the Your Vote Counts campaign, Dan Horn of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that more than 21,000 absentee ballots did not count in the April Ohio primary due to mistakes or late delivery. That’s 1% of all the absentee ballots submitted. see story

The Columbus Dispatch reported that over 400,000 absentee ballot requests had already been received across the state – an unprecedented number this early in the year. see story

Cincinnati Episcopalians’ Your Vote Counts PSAs will tell voters ways to increase the likelihood that their absentee ballots will arrive correctly completed and on time to count.  It will also highlight early in-person voting as a way to avoid the risk of disenfranchisement while keeping the risk of COVID-19 infection low.

Ariel Miller is a member of the Becoming Beloved Community leadership team for the Diocese of Southern Ohio, and a member of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming.