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Kelvin Scott spent much of the 2012 election cycle on his feet.
Named Hamilton County Democratic Party “Youth Coordinator,” Scott, a veteran who is now an educator with the Hamilton County school system, was determined to walk areas of the community where voter registration is low, and energize young people in particular to get involved in the democratic process.
Starting at College Hills Courts, moving on to East Lake Courts, the Bethlehem Center and other sites leading up to the November 2012 elections, Scott personally registered more than 700 voters. He discovered people such as 52-year-old Raymond Witcher, who was registering to vote for the first time.
“No one ever sat down and showed me how to register to vote, and everyone needs help the first time,” Witcher said at the time. “I want to claim my right to vote.”
Now Scott has been named to the Hamilton County Election Commission by Rep. JoAnne Favors. “We meet once a month,” Scott said, “and our job is to maintain the integrity of the election process.” Noting that the commission is currently investigating buying new voting machines to be put in place before the next election cycle, and that new voting rules often are put in place, he vowed that voters in his district will be given plenty of notice of any changes prior to elections.
“If you talk to the average person, you often hear that changes that affect them are not made public adequately,” Scott said, pointing to the exclusion of library and student ID cards for use at the polls. He is also dedicated to making sure that those who have been ineligible to vote for various reasons know how to regain their eligibility.
Immediately following the November elections, Rep. Favors spoke at the Election Commission and noted the following problems, among others:
•Election workers at polling sites had no online access to the voter data base and were unable to easily determine appropriate polling sites for many voters who had come to the wrong site. There were several instances of family members living in the same household, yet being assigned to vote at different voting precincts.
•Many elderly citizens were unable to obtain photo IDs because they had never had a certificate of birth on file at the Department of Vital Statistics.
•Many voters went to polls where they had voted for years and found them closed. No signs were posted at former polling sites redirecting voters to appropriate sites.
•Election workers assigned to the Alton Park precincts were all new, which created mass confusion and ineffectiveness. Police had to be called because voters were disturbed when voting machines were malfunctioning and voters were asked to wait outside.
“We must work together at the Election Commission to solve these problems,” said Scott. “And it’s time to grab the younger generation of voters and get them ready to take the reins. They need to know the importance of their vote and how it directly impacts their lives.”