Black fraternities and sororities organize caravan of early voters

The National Pan-Hellenic Council of Montgomery County hosted a “Roll to the Poll” event on Saturday during which members of the Council and members of the community drove in a procession of vehicles to the board of elections.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council of Montgomery County hosted a “Roll to the Poll” event on Saturday during which members of the Council and members of the community drove in a procession of vehicles to the board of elections.

Credit: Jordan Laird

Credit: Jordan Laird

As Montgomery County residents continue to vote early in record numbers, a coalition of Black fraternities and sororities gathered a caravan of people to cast their ballots on the first weekend of early voting.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council of Montgomery County, an organization of nine historically Black Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities, hosted a “Roll to the Poll” nonpartisan event on Saturday. Members of the council and the community gathered at Corinthian Baptist Church before driving in a procession to the Montgomery County Board of Elections to vote early.

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“We were basically looking for a safe and effective way to get the word out to get down to early vote and with this being the first weekend, we wanted to make sure that that happened this weekend,” said Jo Goldsmith, president of the council. “It wasn’t enough for us to register voters. We want them to actually exercise their right.”

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In Ohio, there are two weekends before election day on Nov. 3 when voters can cast ballots early in person at their county board of elections.

Mattie White, the Dayton Unit NAACP community coordination chair and a member of Delta Sigma Theta, said the group wanted to emphasize to the community “the importance of engaging in the democratic process."

The National Pan-Hellenic Council of Montgomery County hosted a “Roll to the Poll” event on Saturday during which members of the Council and members of the community drove in a procession of vehicles to the board of elections.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council of Montgomery County hosted a “Roll to the Poll” event on Saturday during which members of the Council and members of the community drove in a procession of vehicles to the board of elections.

Credit: Jordan Laird

Credit: Jordan Laird

Derrick Thomas, a member of the Delta Alpha chapter of Omega Psi Phi, said he and his fraternal brothers participated in the event to make sure “everyone knows the importance of voting.”

“We need somebody that’s going to represent us and our community and do things for the African-American population,” he said. “And not just for the organizations out here but for the entire community to know that voting is important … We’re hoping that this parade that is going around in the neighborhood will let others see, ‘Wow this is important,’ and that we do have a say.”

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At the board of elections, participants joined a long line of voters. Montgomery County is averaging more than 2,000 in-person voters per day.

Montgomery County Board of Elections Director Jan Kelly said Thursday that close to one-third of the county’s 372,861 registered voters had cast ballots either in-person or by mail. The county is on track to surpass the number of early ballots in the last presidential election

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose tweeted Wednesday that more than a million Ohio voters had cast ballots, compared to about a half-million votes cast at the same time in 2016.

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