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A Quick Guide to the September 12 Primary Election.

Not sure if you’re supposed to vote in the Cuyahoga County September 12 Primary Election? Keep reading.

You’ve probably being seeing reminders from voting organizations and the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to vote in the September Primary. Usually, September elections in Ohio serve as primary elections for city governments. But that doesn’t mean that every city will need to hold a primary election. So before you request a mail-in ballot or head over to the BOE, we hope you will take a moment to read our September Primary Election rundown below. It just might save you a trip.

Who needs to vote in the September Primary this year.

It turns out only some Cuyahoga County residents will need to vote on September 12, specifically Garfield Heights City Council Ward 2 and Maple Heights City Council District 6 residents. If you do live in one of these districts, here are all of the dates for casting your ballot (both in person and by mail):

Vote-by-mail applications can be found at your local public library, by calling 216-443-VOTE (8683) or by visiting And you can find a sample ballot for the September Primary here so you can know ahead of time exactly what you'll be voting for.

Even if you’re not voting in this election, it’s still a good time to make sure you’re ready for the next one.

The next election after the September Primary is the November 7 General Election. While Cleveland VOTES believes that every election is important, this year’s General Election is notable for the number of special issues that will be on the ballot. For example, Ohioans will vote on recreational marijuana legalization and codifying reproductive rights in our state constitution. And Clevelanders will vote on a participatory budgeting charter amendment that would set aside 2% of the City’s annual budget for residents to decide directly how to spend on projects residents themselves propose.

As you can see, these are some major issues that will impact all of us! Here are some action steps you can take before November:

  1. Make sure your voter registration information is up to date. You can check your voter registration status here. Note that if you moved or changed your name, you will need to re-register.

  2. Have a voting plan in place. Do whatever you need to do to feel #VoteReady by Election Day. Find your polling location (if voting in person); check the new voter ID requirements; request a mail-in ballot application (if needed); and make sure you know all the key voting deadlines.

  3. Learn what will be on your ballot and decide how you’ll vote. There are a lot of helpful ballot-previewing tools out there like Ballotpedia and BallotReady. All you have to do is plug in your location.

  4. Tell your friends and family to vote. Voter drives and voter pledges are great, but telling people in your personal network that you plan to vote--and that there are a lot of important issues on the ballot--is one of the best ways to get folks to the polls. People are more likely to trust people they already know.

  5. Get involved with civic holidays. There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to voting celebrations this fall, such as National Voter Registration Day and Vote Early Day (two of our favorites). Here is a guide to this year's civic holiday lineup.

See you at the polls!

-Cleveland VOTES

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