CLEVELAND - With less than four weeks to go until the November General Election, early voting gets underway Oct. 11 in Ohio. In Cuyahoga County where the big draw is the race for Cleveland mayor the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. now through Oct. 27, with hours expanded heading into the final week of the campaign.
Roughly one in four voters in the September Primary cast their ballots early, either through the mail or in person at the Board. News 5 Political Analyst Dr. Tom Sutton of Baldwin Wallace University believes it will play a big role in the mayor's race between incumbent Frank Jackson and challenger Councilman Zack Reed.
"I think it's going to be very important for both candidates," Sutton said. "I think we'll see more of that particularly given the older population that are habitual voters and who use the early ballot more frequently than younger voters."
"Those that capture that older vote, that established vote are going to have the advantage with the early voting and it may tip the balance one way or the other come election day," Sutton said.
The September primary left Jackson and Reed little time to make their case to voters but Sutton believes both will be focused on several key points.
"I think the biggest focus for Frank Jackson is look at what we've accomplished and how much more there is left to do. Trust us, we've been doing well, keep us in office and we'll continue to do well," Sutton said.
"The focus for Zack Reed is going to be on neighborhoods, neighborhood safety, the neighborhoods that have been ignored and that others have done well and they have not. I think that's really going to be Reed's focus and he's hoping to turn out maybe more of the young vote and certainly the vote on the east side where people do feel like they've been left out of what has been success for the city."