Ohio Secretary of State's Office
 Jon Husted & the Office  |  Elections & Voting  |  Campaign Finance  |  Legislation & Ballot Issues  |  Businesses  |  Records  |  Media Center  |  Publications 
Return to the Media Center Landing pageReturn to the Media Center Landing pageMedia CenterMedia CenterMedia Center

Media CenterMedia CenterPrinter Friendly Page

For Immediate Release
Monday, June 13, 2011

Guest column by Secretary of State Jon Husted


It’s June and that means high school graduates are celebrating across Ohio. As these young men and women are busy preparing to take their next steps in life – going off to college, joining the military or becoming part of the workforce – there is one “to do” that I hope will be on each and every one of their lists: Registering to vote.

This spring I devoted four weeks to touring Ohio high schools spreading the word about “Grads Vote,” an initiative sponsored by my office to educate graduating seniors about their right to vote. The tour was particularly significant as this year marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of the 26th Amendment which lowered the voting age to 18 in 1971. I made it to nearly 20 schools to discuss this important anniversary and encourage Ohio’s newly eligible voters to get involved.

The 26th amendment enfranchised 11.4 million 18-to-20-year-olds who were eager to have a say in their democracy. Who, according to a TIME magazine article from that year, learned the political lesson: if you don't have the vote, they can ignore you. When the amendment passed 18-year-olds were excited to get involved. Many of them were going to war for our country, but they didn’t yet have a voice at the voting booth.

Now, just 40 years later, the right to vote at 18 is a given. Registering to vote is not the first thing one thinks about on their 18th birthday and remembering to vote at every election is not always a priority. Take the midterm election in 2010. Only about 24 percent of all eligible young people ages 18-29 voted across the nation and Ohio’s numbers were even lower, with about 21 percent of all eligible young people ages 18-29 voting.

My message to students as I visited schools on the Grads Vote tour was simple. They have every reason, if not more, to vote in 2011 as those young voters did in 1971. Every election has an impact on their lives. The individuals elected today go on to run our local, state and federal government. They make important decisions at every level that touch the lives of voters and non-voters alike.

I often use the example of the national debt to illustrate the importance of voting. The current debt for our country is more than $14 trillion. To pay this off in full today, every person in the U.S., including every eligible young voter, would owe around $46,000. That’s a lot of money to owe without having a say in how it’s managed. The only way we can have a say in these matters, is to vote.

The people we elect represent us in the U.S. Congress, determining how to spend our money, what needs to be done to address our debt, and how much we should all contribute in taxes. Young adults need to understand that by choosing not to participate in our elections, they are forfeiting their voice in the decision making process and allowing other people to make important decisions that will affect their generation. They can’t afford not to get involved.

The good news is, getting involved is simple. To anyone who is 18 now or will be by November 8th - fill out a voter registration form, submit it by October 11th and vote on Election Day November 8th. Keep your registration updated with your current address as you move forward in life. Stay informed of upcoming elections. And vote whenever you have the opportunity. It’s that easy.

The importance of registering and voting in every election cannot be overstated – it is a right that comes with enormous responsibility. Participation gives everyone a voice. It’s the chance to help determine the outcome for local, state and national issues and races – which impact all of our lives.

For information on registering to vote and upcoming elections visit my website:www.sos.state.oh.us.


For more information, please contact Matt McClellan at 614-995-2168 or mmcclellan@sos.state.oh.us.

Stay Connected
Follow our office
Facebook Follow OhioSOSHusted on Twitter YouTube
The Ohio Channel Ohio Secretary of State's office RSS Feeds

 Privacy  |  Contact Us  |  State of Ohio

Created 2011

Footer Fade Left  Footer Seal  Footer Fade Right

Jon Husted & the Office

Contact Us
Duties & Responsibilities
Media Center


Ohio Military Votes
Ohio Business Profile
Reshape Ohio
Vote in Honor of a Veteran
Founding Fathers
Shielding Our Protectors
Be a P.E.O. in Ohio

Legislation & Ballot Issues

Putting an Issue on the Ballot
Ohio Ballot Board
Bill Effective Dates


Register to Vote / Update Your Address
Voting Absentee
FAQs About Voting
About This Election
Voters With Disabilities
Uniformed & Overseas Citizens Absentee Voters (UOCAVA)
Rights & Responsibilities

Elections Results & Data

Elections Officials

County Board Directory
Directives, Advisories, Memos & Tie Votes
Forms & Petitions
Precinct Election Officials
County Voting Equipment

National Voter Registration Act


Election Calendar
Candidate Requirement Guide
Forms & Petitions
District Maps

Campaign Finance

Search Candidates & Committees
File Online

Business Services

Ohio Business Central
Business Name Search
Guide to Name Availability
Filing Forms & Fee Schedule
Business Filing Notification System
Ohio Business Profile

Uniform Commercial Code

File Online
Search Filings
UCC Forms & Fees

Business Information

Starting a Business
Expedite Your Filing
Business Identity Theft
Certificates of Good Standing
Prepayment Accounts
Request a Report
Glossary of Business Entities


Apostilles & Certifications
Notary Public
Search Notaries
Minister License
Search Ministers
Forms & Fees
Non-Resident Alien Land
Debarred Contractors

Historical Documents

Laws of Ohio
Ohio Constitution
Profile Ohio