LIMA — The man in charge of Ohio’s elections spent part of Monday indulging in a national pastime: debating politics in a barbershop.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, is up for re-election in November. is visiting barbershops across the state to encourage community members to vote. LaRose stopped by Bug’s Barbershop on Lima’s North Main Street Monday afternoon.

LaRose created the idea with Eric Garrett, his friend and owner of Beyond Expectations Barber College in Youngstown, in 2020. This work is known as Style for Democracy.

“Talking politics in the barbershop is a time-honored tradition,” LaRose said. “In 2020, we had an idea to get people interested in registering to vote where they are talking about politics. The idea is that if you’re not registered, you can only talk.”

Al Edmundson, owner of A Cut Above the Rest Barbershop in Columbus, also helped with the statewide voter registration effort. Edmundson has helped more than 2,000 adults sign up for his hair salon.

To encourage community members, posters and voter registration forms are distributed to participants.

“The main goal is to get people to vote so we can change ourselves,” said James Hemphill, owner of Bug’s Barbershop. “We can’t expect change to happen if we don’t put effort into what we need. It starts with going to the polls and appointing the right people to the right positions to work for us.”

LaRose is running against Elida native Chelsea Clarke, a Democrat, in the November election.

Across Ohio, registered voters will elect a U.S. senator, governor and lieutenant governor, two Ohio Supreme Court justices, the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, the attorney general, the secretary of state, the treasurer and the auditor.

There are also races for the U.S. House of Representatives, state representative for the 84th District and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Candidates for Ohio House District 78 and the Ohio Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit will run unopposed.

The deadline for voter registration is October 11.