Cuyahoga County election results delay explained

Many Cuyahoga County voters, campaign workers and reporters were dragging a bit after Tuesday’s election because they had to wait hours past midnight to get an accurate picture of local election results.

I’ve covered elections for 25 years, and the board has been pretty efficient in recent years, even in close races. But Tuesday’s slow returns were painful, especially for those interested in Cleveland’s Issue 38, the charter amendment that would have given citizens a direct say over a small portion of the city budget.

The issue was failing by about 2 percentage points most of the night. We declared the issue headed for a narrow defeat at around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

The board offered an explanation for the delays in a statement, which leaves some unanswered questions. The board said that for years it would just tabulate votes from the scanned ballots and then release the totals.

But in August, the board started not only tabulating the votes but also taking a picture of every ballot, “which equated to approximately 1 million ballot images being processed” this past Tuesday. Doing that creates a backup for the paper ballot but slows the reporting process.

The board said everything worked as it should have, but officials acknowledged the process needs to go faster. The board said it’s working with the equipment vendor to find ways to speed up the imaging process.

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Financial Times checks out Cleveland

The Financial Times – the London-based broadsheet known for its grasp of global business and its salmon pink paper – is the latest publication to spill ink over Cleveland’s long-hoped-for renaissance.

The article takes a brisk tour of Cleveland’s high and low points, from troubles with housing to the businesses making a move to town. The newspaper highlighted Cleveland because it performed well on the FT-Nikkei Investing in America ranking, which scores cities based on their climate for international investment.

“You can come here from elsewhere and join in civic life and make a difference,” City Club of Cleveland CEO Dan Moulthrop told the paper. “I think that is really one of the coolest things.”

The FT was particularly impressed with our town’s – well, physique.

“The city’s downtown is muscular and handsome, as upper Midwestern cities often are,” the FT wrote.

Eyes up here, Financial Times.

Tri-C’s high hopes for new levy

Cuyahoga Community College President Michael Baston is looking ahead after voters overwhelmingly supported the college’s recent levy request. At a watch party Tuesday night, he told Signal Cleveland’s Amy Morona he envisions Cleveland becoming the “career capital of the state,” prioritizing work that could help shrink Cleveland’s talent gaps.  

It’s estimated that about 65% of the state’s workforce will need a two- or four-year degree to meet labor demands in the next two years. Northeast Ohio’s educational attainment levels currently clock in around 37%, per Team NEO, an economic development group.   

“We have a lot of folks that really need to come off the sidelines of opportunity and get into all the great opportunities that are here in our community,” Baston said. “We want to help them.”

Managing Editor, News (he/him)
Mark is a veteran journalist with experience in alternative media, print, digital and television news. For 19 years, he was a groundbreaking reporter and metro columnist with The Plain Dealer and Most recently, Mark spent three years as an investigative, enterprise and breaking news reporter at WKYC-TV, where his "Leading the Land" series on Cleveland's 2021 mayoral primary race earned a regional Emmy.

Government Reporter (he/him)
Nick joins us from the world of public radio. He has more than a decade experience covering politics and government in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. In 2021, he produced and hosted "After Jackson: Cleveland's Next Mayor," an Ideastream Public Media podcast on the Cleveland mayoral race. He has also covered breaking news, opioid lawsuits and elections nationally for NPR.

Higher Education Reporter (she/her)
Amy, who’s worked in both local and national newsrooms for nearly a decade, previously covered higher education at Crain's Cleveland Business in partnership with the national nonprofit news organization Open Campus. A first-generation college graduate, Amy is committed to highlighting the voices of students in her coverage.