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CAMPAIGN UPDATE | Mahoning Valley election news for Sept. 21

The Boardman Civic Association and Mahoning Matters plan election forums; the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown will host a voter registration drive, and state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan and Chris Stanley, Democratic nominee for the 59th District seat, have issued statements.
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Mahoning Matters recognizes its obligation to keep readers updated on news of candidates, forums and other developments during the election season.

If you have an upcoming candidate forum, registration drive or campaign news release you'd like us to consider publishing, send it to

Candidate statements and press releases are edited for space and are subjected to fact-checking.

Voter information

  • How to register to vote: You can click here to register online. You can also download an application from the secretary of state's website, print it, and mail it to the board of elections at the above address.
  • When to register to vote: To vote in the Nov. 3 election, your application must be received by mail, or delivered to the board of elections office, or online no later than Oct. 5. Boards of elections are open Oct. 5 until 9 p.m.
  • Who can register to vote: U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old on or before the general election, and a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days before the election.
  • How can I check my voter registration?: You can do so at the secretary of state's website. Documents needed to register online: Ohio driver’s license or state ID with number; name; date of birth; address; last four digits of your Social Security number.

  • How to request an absentee ballot: If you choose not to vote at a public polling location on Election Day, you can request a ballot in advance — called absentee voting. The Ohio secretary of state has mailed applications to every registered voter, which can be completed and returned, or voters can click here to print the form from the secretary of state's website.

Election forums

  • The Boardman Civic Association will host its 2020 candidates and issues forum as an in-person, outdoor event at 5:30 p.m. today (Sept. 21) at Boardman Park’s Maag Amphitheater. Candidates and representatives for both political office and community issues will present information. Outdoor seating will be arranged for appropriate social distancing.
  • Mahoning Matters, Stambaugh Auditorium and The Business Journal will present an online Community Matters forum, “Election 2020: Voting in the Valley,” at 6 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 23). Mahoning Matters Editor Mark Sweetwood will moderate the discussion with guests Dr. Paul Sracic, chair of the Department of Politics and International Relations at Youngstown State University; Tom McCabe, deputy director, Mahoning County Board of Elections; Bryant Youngblood, assistant director for the Academy for Urban Scholars in Youngstown; and Kristen Olmi, president, League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown. Click here to register for the discussion.

Voter registration

  • The Jewish Community Center of Youngstown and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation will have a voter registration drive with the League of Women Voters from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 22) at the JCC on Gypsy Lane. Absentee ballot request forms, polling site location information and League of Women Voters’ nonpartisan candidate information will be available.

Candidate statements

  • On the first National Black Voter Day on Friday (Sept. 18), state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown, issued a statement calling for action to eliminate systemic barriers to voting in Ohio. “We are less than 50 days from this important election, and Ohioans are ready to have their voices heard at the ballot box,” Lepore-Hagan said. “Voters are making plans and deciding on the voting option that is best for them. My Republican colleagues need to stop these last-minute charades that confuse voters.” The call comes as the Ohio Senate considers House Bill 680, the GOP election bill that would bar a public official from causing an election to be conducted other than in the time, place and manner prescribed by current law. On the eve of the March 17 primary, Gov. Mike DeWine and top state health officials postponed Ohio’s presidential primary by declaring a public health emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Chris Stanley, Democratic nominee for the 59th District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives, on Wednesday (Sept. 16) said his opponent’s sudden decision to support campaign finance reform through the Republican-led "Light of Day" bill is nothing more than political grandstanding. Stanley is challenging state Rep. Al Cutrona of Canfield, R-59th, who was selected to fill the late Rep. Don Manning's seat after he died unexpectedly March 20 and was sworn into office on May 28. “My opponent says ‘now is an opportune time’ to address the culture of corruption Larry Householder and the Republicans have created in Columbus,” Stanley said. “The fact is, the opportune time was in July when Householder and his gang were arrested. House Democrats introduced HB 739, the Ohio Anti-Corruption Act, within days of Householder’s arrest. My opponent could and should have co-sponsored that bill, which will shine bright light on the dark money that’s bought and paid for legislation like the First Energy bailout for far too long. Instead, he’s said and done nothing for 56 days.” Days after federal prosecutors revealed the case against Householder, Cutrona announced he intended to back a similar, Republican-led House bill that had yet to be introduced. The "Light of Day" bill was introduced by state Rep. Diane Grendell of Chesterland, R-76th.