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Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Explains Role of Poll Watchers

The topic of poll watchers came up in the presidential debate in Cleveland.  We discuss who they are and what limits they have. [Rob Crandall / Shutterstock]
The topic of poll watchers came up in the presidential debate in Cleveland. We discuss who they are and what limits they have. [Rob Crandall / Shutterstock]

President Trump wants his supporters to be “poll watchers’ during the election to “watch very closely” the voting process during the November General Election.  Early voting for Ohio begins on October 6 and will include several weeks of in-person early voting and mail-in voting.

Trump made the comments during the chaotic first presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday.  Moderator Chris Wallace had asked Trump if he would urge his followers remain calm during the voting process.

The president’s call for poll watchers has raised fears of voter intimidation among voting rights groups, according to the New York Times.

We discuss the role of poll watchers with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

Then, the Cleveland City Council will lose a long-serving member next month.  Matt Zone, Ward 15 Councilman, announced last weekend that he is stepping down after 19 years on council to become Executive Director of the Thriving Communities Institute and Senior Vice President of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy where he will succeed Jim Rokakis.

Zone’s ward encompasses the Edgewater Area, Gordon Square, Ohio City and Detroit-Shoreway.  Voters first elected him to council in 2001.

Councilman Zone joins the program to talk about his decision to take this new opportunity and looks back on his career with council.


Later, readers and writers take center stage this week as the Cleveland Foundation presents Cleveland Book Week. 

The 85th annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremony will anchor this year’s celebration of literature and writing.  But like many events in 2020, this book week and awards ceremony will have a different look and be held virtually as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Edith Anisfield Wolf established the awards in 1935 in honor her family’s passion for social justice issues.  The awards remain the only American book prize focused on works that address racism and diversity.

This year’s award winners are:

  • Eric Foner for Lifetime Achievement
  • Ilya Kaminsky in Poetry for his work, Deaf Republic
  • Charles King, in non-fiction for Gods of the Upper Air
  • Namwali Serpell, in fiction for, The Old Drift

Since the events for book week are virtual, there is room for more.  We have links on our show page at ideastream-dot-org-slash-ideas now.

Be sure to watch tonight for the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremony special.  It airs at 8 pm on WVIZ/PBS.  Rebroadcasts are scheduled for October at 4pm and October 24 at 10:30pm on WVIZ/PBS.

For More Information:

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

Cleveland Book Week 2020

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards 2020

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards 2020 Television Special

Registration and Events for the 2020 Great Lakes African American Writers Conference

  • Mike West, Manager of the Outreach Department, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections
  • Matt Zone, Cleveland City Council, Ward 15
  • Karen Long, Manager, Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, The Cleveland Foundation 
  • Rev. Dr. Leah Lewis, Founder, Executive Producer, Great Lakes African American Writers Conference 
  • Mary Fecteau, Senior Producer, Ideastream