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Line Stretches For Blocks On Cuyahoga County's First Early Voting Weekend

The first weekend day of early in-person voting in Cuyahoga brought huge crowds and lines that stretched for blocks.

At one point Saturday morning, the line wrapped around the block from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections building on East 30th Street and Euclid Ave.

It extended to Chester Avenue and passed the I-90 bridge – touching the Cleveland State University campus. Police officials at one point had to redirect the line, which had swerved onto the highway ramp.

Early voting in Ohio began Oct. 6 and a steady stream of voters has been taking advantage of the opportunity to cast their ballot before Election Day. The response, however, on Cuyahoga County’s first-weekend opportunity to cast a ballot was even larger than previous days.

Although some voters had to wait more than two hours in line to vote, the atmosphere was often light and festive. A small dance party broke out at a tent catty-corner to the board of elections entrance.

Vote to Live, a non-partisan organization, brought a DJ to keep the line of voters entertained at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]

The sounds of Bell Biv DeVoe and Roddy Rich resonated with several people dancing while waiting in the long line, including Euclid resident Savanna McCarthy.

McCarthy came with two friends to vote early. The three of them live in different voting precincts, so early voting gave them a chance to cast their ballots together at the same location, McCarthy said. 

“You can come by yourself. You can come with your parents, but it’s something special when you get a group of young people together that care enough about their community and their nation to come out, put their ballots in, get your sticker. It’s a good time,” McCarthy said.

Another young voter, 19-year-old Maggie Carter, said this was her first time voting in a presidential election.

“I think it’s really important that all of us young people go out and vote,” Carter said.

Some people waited in line for more than two hours to vote. Early voting is available in Cuyahoga County through November 2. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]

Carter said she hoped she wouldn’t have to wait more than an hour to get to the front of the line.

Solon residents Lori and Dan Sikon said they waited almost two hours before stepping inside the building. It was worth the wait, they said.

“We want to be part of history,” Lori Sikon said.

Timm Harris, from Bedford, echoed that sentiment about being part of a historic event. 

“It’s worth the wait, my friend,” Harris said. “A lot of people went through a whole lot just to vote and this year is the 100th anniversary of all women getting the right to vote," Harris said.

So far, 2020 has been an historic year and full of uncertainties, which is why Highland Heights residents Latanya Brazzell and Jon Lee said they decided to vote early rather than wait for Nov. 3.

Jon Lee and Latanya Brazzell, from Highland Heights, voted early on Saturday at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]

“I feel like this is a particular election where we can’t leave anything to chance,” Lee said. “We got to make absolutely sure that we get our votes in."

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is open for early voting every day through Nov. 2.

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