CLEVELAND — For the first time in more than a decade, Frank Jackson is not in the race for Cleveland mayor. Now, with less than 48 hours until primary election day, six people hope to make it to the general election in November.
Primary elections are an important but sometimes overlooked part of democracy. Voter turnout is often low. But people who do cast ballots understand what it means for the next step. People like Katherine Marquard.
"We're really excited to vote today because, it being a primary, we really want to see the two candidates that are most important for us and most aligned with our views on for the major election," she said standing outside the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. "We watched all the mayoral debates, and we really enjoyed their down to earth and their authenticity."
Of the last three chances to vote for a mayor in Cleveland, turnout in primary elections has been less than 15% of registered voters at the time.
The newest returns from the county BOE came out just after 5 p.m. Sunday. The data showed 2,693 ballots had been returned for early in-person voting ahead of the Tuesday Sept. 14 election—250 of those ballots were cast Sunday.
"As cliche as it sounds, politics is local," said Brian Siggers with the Northeast Ohio Young Black Democrats. "So, if you really want to see fundamental change in your community you're going to have to vote."
Siggers' group was across the street from the BOE.
"I hope that it picks up. I have faith and confidence that people will be excited to come out," he said.
Most of the votes cast on Sunday came between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. One of those voters was Jameile Teague, who cast his first ballot before the doors closed.
"My parents would go and I wouldn't even go," he said. "I would be somewhere else. They were talking about 'you should have voted with me.'"
The top two vote-getters in the primary move on to the general election in November.