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First Day Of Early Voting Draws Long Lines In Ohio For 2020 Election

At one point, the line for early voters reached from Euclid Avenue to Chester Avenue. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]
At one point, the line for early voters reached from Euclid Avenue to Chester Avenue. [Gabriel Kramer/ideastream]

By the time the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections opened at 8 a.m. Tuesday for the first day of early voting, hundreds of voters — most of them wearing masks — were lined up, ready to cast ballots.

Bundled-up South Euclid resident Tristan Fritz came prepared to wait in a long line of early voters. She took the day off from work and brought a lunch.

"If I want change, it starts with me," Fritz said. "It's totally worth the wait in line. Our ancestors fought for this opportunity and it would be horrible of me to not exercise my right to vote."

Early voters were lined up well before the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections opened at 8 a.m. Tuesday. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]

Lakewood resident Hattie Kotz said she showed up to set an example for other young voters. 

"Literally could not wait any longer," Kotz said. "I'm just so excited to vote. I love voting. I think it's the most important thing you can do."

Sylvia Morgan, who stood in line with her husband Oscar, said it was worth standing in the colder weather for what she called an historic day.

"We have a job to do and a sacrifice that has been made for us," she said. "This feels good to do as American citizens."

Early voters followed social distancing protocols inside the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]

The Cuyahoga County Democrats hosted a press conference outside of the board of elections as voters filed into the building.

Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chairwoman Shontel Brown encouraged residents to get their votes in early to avoid any potential confusion on Election Day.

"We don't want you to wait," Brown said. "I want to remind you — during the primary, the governor closed the polls with less than 16 hours before the election was to kick off on March 17. So, make sure you take full advantage of early voting. We want to bank our votes as early as possible."

Boards of elections across the state had similar long lines. Jo Ingles of Ohio Public Radio's Statehouse News Bureau tweeted images of the early voters in Franklin County.

Early in-person voting is available at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections every day through November — with the exception of Oct. 17 and 18. 

Early in-person will not be available at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections on Oct. 17 or 18. [Cuyahoga County Board of Elections]

Gabriel Kramer is a reporter/producer and the host of “NewsDepth,” Ideastream Public Media's news show for kids.