New citizens reach 1,000 mark for voter registration

Alejandra Corral-Tavitas, Westlake, (holding flag) was honored to be the 1,000th new American citizen who registered to vote in Cuyahoga County in 2023 at the federal naturalization ceremony conducted on Dec. 15, 2023, in Cleveland. Surrounding her are five volunteer registrars representing the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland.

Every other Friday, an intrepid group from the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Westlake/North Olmsted and other chapters arrive at the Carl B. Stokes Federal Courthouse in Cleveland to register new citizens to vote. Spearheading this routine is Bruce Robinson of North Olmsted. He took on this volunteer routine in retirement (he was a nurse at Cleveland Clinic Main Campus for 31 years) and now inspires others to do the same.

“I’ve been doing this about six years and every time I am in awe of the ceremony and the people,” Robinson said. “It is an extraordinary moment for those attaining citizenship. I never get tired of watching their smiles, their great pride.”

Robinson said that about 60 people take the oath of citizenship at each Friday session, representing as many as 30 countries each time. All have spent at least three to five years studying for the citizenship test, some much longer.  Recently, an 88-year-old woman was among those raising their right hand to be sworn in. Judges from the U.S. District Court for the Northern Ohio District of Ohio preside at the naturalization ceremonies.

In 2023, a total of 13 LWV volunteers registered over 1,000 new citizens to vote at some 26 ceremonies conducted at the Cleveland courthouse by judges from the U.S. District Court for the Northern Ohio District of Ohio. Additional volunteers are needed to augment the current crew, Robinson said, since the new citizens exit all at the same time and are very eager to become registered voters. 

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service welcomed 878,500 new citizens in fiscal year 2023 during naturalization ceremonies held across the United States and around the world. 

The League of Women Voters chapters in Cuyahoga County have a long history with naturalization ceremonies.  Robinson’s own dedication is inspired by having watched his mother read a proclamation on behalf of the Daughters of the American Revolution at a naturalization ceremony some 40 years ago. 

While it’s a given that Robinson himself will be at almost every ceremony, he may need a substitute now and then as he and his wife take on babysitting responsibilities for their first grandchild. Those interested in participating as a registration volunteer should call Robinson at 440-482-3469 or sign up on the “Volunteer Opportunities” page at


Member, Westlake/North Olmsted Chapter, League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland

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Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 9:21 AM, 03.05.2024