On Tuesday, Sept. 14, The Land visited polling locations across the city to talk with voters and campaign workers about why they’re voting this election, what changes they want to see in their neighborhoods, and who they’re supporting.
Although voter turnout was relatively light at the polling locations we visited, there are indicators that turnout could be higher than it was in the 2017 primary. To view live voter turnout statistics, visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website.
Here’s what four voters told us.
Fran Didonato, Ward 15
“I’m really excited about Justin Bibb as a candidate. He’s energetic and has fresh ideas. He has run the best campaign and connects people all over town. This is the first time I’m this excited about a local candidate. We have a chance to make real change in Cleveland and I believe Justin Bibb is the candidate that can bring that change. The people that are voting for him are enthusiastic, and I hope that translates into something.”
Carolyn Allen, Ward 7
“I’m here to support Shana Roberts for city council in Ward 7 and Basheer Jones for mayor. Both of them understand what we need in our community. Shana has served our community and so has Basheer. Now, he’s moved on to run for mayor after serving four years on council. I think he’s the best candidate. He’s paying attention to developers, which we’re happy about, but he’s also making sure growth benefits the community, not just the folks looking to make a profit. He has spurred that.”
Kimberlyn Lavette, Ward 7
“I want to see Cleveland continue to grow. I understand the concern about the neighborhoods, but to help neighborhoods you’ve got to have a vibrant downtown. So, you’ve got to build downtown. I enjoy living downtown, and I think it’s coming back. Here in Cleveland, we need change. Half of our council members have been sitting there 20 years. I feel like they’re stagnant. Stuck in their ways. We need fresh ideas and faces. Our leadership is getting old. If you let them stay for another 20 years, what are they going to do?”
Stephen Belker, Ward 13
“I think we need Dennis [Kucinich] back in there. I think he was not too bad of a mayor. Everybody wanted Kelley, but to me he didn’t do a good job as councilperson. Dennis is going to give us more police presence and lower our bills for water, sewer and electric. Maybe he won’t get everything he wants, but he might get something, and that’s better than nothing, isn’t it? I didn’t hear none of that coming from Kelley. There’s no police presence over here, and we’ve got drug dealings and shootings in Old Brooklyn.”
For information about the Sept. 14 primary and Nov. 2 general election, including registering to vote, visit boe.cuyahogacounty.gov.
Lee Chilcote is editor of The Land.