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Akron Legislator Ensures First-Time Voters Get to the Polls

group of voters
State Rep. Tavia Galonski and her husband, Summit County deputy chief assistant prosecutor John Galonski, make ferrying first-time voters to the polls a tradition.

In the days before Tuesday’s primary election, Summit County Board of Elections saw a steady stream of early voters, with some casting ballots for the first time.

Voters arrived singly and in groups, giving different reasons for voting ahead of Election Day.

Among the early voters were State Rep. Tavia Galonski, who’s seeking reelection, and her husband, John Galonski.

The couple arrived with a van full of first-time voters in tow. Tavia Galonski said it’s a family tradition.

“Our family gathers people who might not be voters, we make sure they’re registered to vote and then we make sure to get them to the polls," she said. " They can choose whoever they want, but we want to be sure they get in the practice, just like my mom used to take me. She would take me to vote when I was a little kid. It was a solemn affair.”

Among the first-time voters was 19-year-old Tamia Garrett who had a message for other young people.

"If you can’t get your voice out any other way, voting is the way to do it,” she said. “Because we’re not heard a lot at our age. We’re just a bunch of young people that are just misunderstood. So our best way to be understood is to vote.”

The Board of Elections is open on Election Day from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Jennifer Conn joined WKSU in February 2019 as Akron reporter.