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Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announces 2024 Grads Vote Program for high school seniors....By Clevelandurbannews.com, Ohio's Black digital news leader

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Staff article

Staff article: COLUMBUS, Ohio-Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (pictured) has announced the launch of the 2024 Grads Vote program, a civic engagement initiative designed to assist high school seniors with learning how to become active in Ohio’s election process. The initiative also encourages high school juniors and seniors to become election day poll workers as part of the Youth at the Booth program.

LaRose, a Republican, announced the launch for what he says is part of "a rigorous statewide election integrity initiative aimed at ensuring the accuracy of Ohio's statewide voter registration database.

"Beginning this week, the secretary of state's office will work with Ohio's 88 county boards of elections to conduct legally required list maintenance on out-of-date registrations from individuals who have permanently moved," LaRose said in a statement.

LaRose also directed the county boards of elections to review their records for "past-due removals, data mismatches, and bad addresses to ensure they are complying with state and federal law."

Ohio Democratic leaders and the NAACP, however, remain concerned that any efforts by LaRose to purge voter rolls in Ohio serve only to disenfranchise voters, including Black people and poor people. LaRose argues that he is acting within the confines of state and federal law, and is merely doing his job.

Ohioans will vote this November relative to the 2024 presidential election between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, a rematch of the 2020 election that Biden won amid controversy and claims by Trump and his supporters that the election that culminated in a pro-Trump riot on Jan 6, 2021 at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. was fixed against him.

Trump won Ohio in 2016 when he was first elected president, and again in 2020 when he was ousted from office by voters.

He has been indicted in four separate cases, one for which he is currently on trial as to whether he interfered with the 2016 election that he won over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by allegedly paying off adult film star Stormy Daniels to be quiet about an alleged affair he denies.

He has pleaded not guilty in all four cases, including the Stormy Daniels hush money, election interference prosecution, and says they are all a witch hunt by Democrats and are designed to interfere with his current run for president.

Prosecutors after him say presidents are no more above the law than anybody else.

All of it is constant fodder for talented media pundits and political talk show hosts across the country, with some Blacks and others who distrust the nation's systemically racist legal system looking on for comparisons and analyses.

Trump has said that Black people should identify with him because they too are routine victims of a criminal justice system that wreaks of impropriety and is weaponized against innocent people the government wants to silence for speaking out on issues of public concern.

A recent CNN poll found that only 13 percent of Americans nationwide believe that he is being treated like other criminal defendants, though race was not a factor in the poll.

To the contrary, a similar Pew study has shown that Black and Hispanic individuals are more likely than White people with similar criminal histories and charges to be arrested and held in jail before trial and that they tend to have higher bails set and receive lengthier and more punitive sanctions, such as incarceration rather than probation.

Ohio is no different, with research showing that Cuyahoga County, the state's second largest of its 88 counties, has the highest rate of convictions of Blacks, many of them poor, and of binding over Black juveniles to adult court for prosecution where they are regularly convicted and imprisoned. This often occurs with ineffective assistance of counsel, and at the hands of racist and corrupt White common pleas judges, White county prosecutors, and White men who lead the county's racist public defender's office.

Black Cleveland area community activists have called for a consent decree for common pleas court reforms between the county of Cuyahoga, which includes Cleveland, and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) under U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, a Biden appointee.

LaRose has not announced an endorsement of Trump but has said efforts to keep the former president off the November ballot in various states  are uncalled for as the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to decide Trump's claim that he has absolute immunity from prosecution charges that accuse him of interfering with the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, and criminal charges against him in general regarding his time as president and thereafter. He says it sets a bad precedent for presidents in the future who come under fire and are persecuted for political reasons.

Also on the ballot in November in Ohio, among other less prominent races, is a nationally watched contest for the U.S. Senate between Republican nominee Bernie Moreno, who won Ohio's March 19 primary over LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan with Trump's endorsement, and senior U.S. Sen Sherrod Brown, a popular Cleveland Democrat who is running for reelection.

Democrats hold a slim majority in the U.S. Senate while Republicans hold the majority in the House of Representatives, with Republicans vying like hell to win the White House and to dominate both chambers of Congress come November. Only time will tell, pundits have said, as Trump aggressively fights for his political survival, his freedom, and a second term as president of the United States of America.

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com, the most read Black digital newspaper and Black blog in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: editor@clevelandurbannews.com. We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.

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