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Published: Sunday, 8/22/2004

The push for voters

The upcoming election is widely viewed, as we noted yesterday, as one of the most important in many people's lifetimes. So when local folks, including a barber on Lagrange Street, get involved in registering new voters, it's a reflection of democracy at work and recognition of Ohio's importance Nov. 2.

Will the momentum be sustained? It's one thing to register people to vote, but it's another to get them out to the polls. Members of both major parties must follow through or the hype will be for nothing.

Fortunately, people like Isaiah Townsend are involved. He is using his barbershop, named Headquarters, to register customers who are not already signed up to vote, and he's far from alone in taking his civic responsibility to heart.

Both major parties and nonpartisan organizations such as the Toledo League of Women Voters, and individuals, including Cynthia Glover and Jessica Sutherland, are busy registering voters, too. Ms. Glover is among the volunteers who set up for a few days at a time to register voters at various inner-city businesses. Recently, they were in front of Jimmy Jackson's Car Spa on Dorr Street. Ms. Sutherland is instrumental in a voter registration drive at the University of Toledo.

Four years ago, both parties agreed the Democrats were more active in the "ground war" to register voters, mainly in urban areas. This year, both Republicans and Democrats are in outlying areas registering voters, too. Lately, the GOP has focused on new developments in southwestern Lucas County. Nonpartisan groups are also signing up people at senior citizens and women's centers, and area colleges.

The current grassroots efforts to register voters indicate just how passionately most citizens feel about this election, and just how split they are.

But the best news is that there is a growing and intense drive to get citizens registered so they can vote in November. That's good for democracy, and gives rise to hope that this fall, the voice of more people than ever will be heard.

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