Election Monitors In Cuayhoga County Today

Sep 10, 2013

Federal civil rights observers will monitor polls in Cuayhoga County during today's primary election to make sure bilingual ballots are used under a 2010 agreement with the Justice Department.

The County Board of Elections agreed to offer the ballots to avoid a federal lawsuit under the Civil Rights Act. The department had been pressuring the county to provide voting access for citizens educated in Puerto Rico and with limited ability in English. M.L. Schultze of member station WKSU in Kent has a preview of today's election.

It’s primary day in Cleveland and in Akron.

Both cities are governed by charters, which means both set up their own election rules. And in Cleveland, that means a nonpartisan primary for nine ward races for a City Council that’s getting smaller and whose lines have been redrawn.

One of those matches incumbent council man Zack Reed – who reports to jail next week as part of his third DUI sentence – against three challengers.

And another pits two incumbents – Eugene Miller and Jeffrey Johnson.

Winners of the primaries go onto the November election, but many face no competition there.

The head of the Cuyaghoga County Board of Elections, Pat McDonald, characterizes this as a medium-sized election, with about a third of the voters in Cuyahoga County having something to decide. And in many ways, he says, it’s no less work than the 2012 presidential election.

“As far as us in terms of election administration, we have many of the same things. It’s just done on a smaller scale.  We need to recruit thousands of pollworkers. We need to ensure the integrity of the equipment that’s being distributed… the ballots are out at all the polling locations.”

Not all voters will be deciding on candidates. The village of Linndale wants to become a charter government, which would exempt it from many state laws. It hopes that could include the law that put its controversial mayor’s court out of business.