Cuyahoga County Voter Turnout Exceeds Prior Two Midterm Elections

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Voter turnout in Cuyahoga County far surpassed the two previous midterm elections. After the polls closed on Tuesday, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections reported that over 53 percent of county voters have cast their ballots, surpassing the turnout in 2014 (39.6 percent) and 2010 (44.2 percent).

[Cuyahoga County Board of Elections]

For those who voted Tuesday, we wanted to know: what motivated you to go to the polls? Some said they were interested in local ballot issues while others are hoping to influence the balance of power in Congress. But the theme that seemed to unite them all was a sense of responsibility.

"A lot of things that have been going on in the political climate kind of make me feel obligated," said Kayleigh Berendt, 22, who works as a nanny and dog-walker, and is planning to attend school at Cuyahoga Community College soon.

"I want some change in this country," said Diana Kavaras, who voted at the Civic Center in Independence. "There's too much hatred and bigotry. If you don't agree with my politics I'll shoot you or blow you up. And, you know, that's not the America I want."

Tony Catalano, also from Independence, compared voting as a form of "American hygiene."

"Just like you floss every day," he said, "once or twice a year you come and vote."

"We have to vote, because if we don't vote they forget about us," said Carliastro Jones, 28, outside the polling site at Lincoln-West High School in Cleveland's Clark-Fulton neighborhood. "When we vote, they are reminded that we're still here and we're still watching and still listening."

Annette Ruffin, a life insurance agent who also resides in Clark-Fulton, said she feels compelled to vote because her ancestors fought for the right: "Why would I sleep it away? That would be ridiculous. That would be a slap in the face to my grandmother ... It's my duty."

"I was a political science major in college, so that kind of inspires me to continue to do that," said Keith Rivers, 47, who voted at St. Mel Church in West Park. "But the way today's climate is, you know what I mean, I think it's important for people to get out and vote even more now than ever."

“I missed out on the last election - 2016,” said Josh Clark, who is a student at Cuyahoga Community College and works as a bartender. Clark, 25, said he came to regret not voting. People his age, he said, had been “complacent.”

“We speak so much to each other and on social media about what we want to happen, but we don't actually do anything about it,” he said. “So I'm here today just to make sure my voice is heard.”

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