The upcoming November 7 general election will decide the next Toledo mayor, fill a vacant at-large seat and six out of 12 Toledo City Council district seats. However, the race for Mayor is the highest level of office on the ballot, and without significant state or national political pushes, some candidates on the local level are just trying to motivate voters to come to the polls.
With an expected 15% voter turnout, Toledo City Council candidate Sam Melden, running for an at-large seat, talks about election day: “My belief about democracy is: the more voices, the better we are. The louder the voices, the better we are. Nobody’s voice should feel diminished or devalued during an election.”
To bring more residents to the polls, Melden has set up Lucas County’s first website that allows locals to register to vote online: toledoGO.TV.
This effort, made possible on January 1, 2017 with the Ohio Senate’s decision to allow for online voter registration, helps Lucas County residents register to vote, update their voter registration, find a polling location, and register receive reminder emails a week before, a day before and the day of both the primary and general elections.
Created with in-kind donations from Melden’s campaign team, the mobile-friendly website was launched on Sunday, June 11. While tagged “Paid for by Friends of Sam Melden”, it is considered otherwise separate from his campaign: “I will not use any email addresses submitted through this website for my own campaign or any other purpose,” claims Melden.
While Melden admits the effort to boost voter turnout could be beneficial to his own campaign, he claims his main focus is to increase numbers at the primary election (September 12) and general election (November 7).
“Last October, a person involved in local politics [not a candidate, but someone working on a campaign] told me, ‘I know the 15% of people who will vote, so I’ll go straight to their doors,’” says Melden. “I’ll never forget that.”