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Ballot Counting Comes To Halt At Cuyahoga Co. BOE

No ballots are being counted as machines keep going down at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
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Several mayor races and school levies were being decided Tuesday across northeast Ohio, but not a lot of people seemed concerned.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections said 5 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

It took a while longer to count those votes.

Officials at the BOE had to stop counting ballots at about 11 p.m. All the voting machines went down while downloading memory cards.

The server first crashed at about 9 p.m. for 10 minutes and then it started again.

After going down for the second time, a Diebold technician was called in to to take a look at the problem.

Machines were then taken down every 45 minutes for the BOE to be able to save the information from all the cards.

Mayoral Races

In Lakewood's mayoral race, Edward Fitzgerald was beating incumbent Mayor Thomas George in early returns.

Voters in Euclid also cast their ballots for mayor. Incumbent Bill Cervenik survived a recall vote in 2005. On Tuesday night with over 50 percent of precincts in, it looked like he would beat the challenge from City Council President Ed Gudenas. "We've worked hard enough. We've done some great things for this city over the past four years. We've got some great plans over the next four years. We're going to rebuild downtown Euclid. We're going to have a great lakefront development just down the street from downtown Euclid so we're looking forward to it," said Cervenik.

One of the most closely watched races in the country took place in Canton on Tuesday.

Republican Mayor Janet Creighton was losing to Democrat Bill Healy.

This race was a big deal nationally because the Republican party is using the race to test new campaign tactics for the 2008 presidential race.

Pollsters see the Canton race as a possible predictor of whether the GOP can hold on to Ohio next year.

Norton Police

In Summit County, people in Norton overwhelmingly decided not to get rid of the city's police department.

Sixty-nine percent of voters said no to the issue, 31 percent voted yes.

School Levies

In Strongsville, a school levy that failed by just 35 votes earlier this year was back on the ballot. There was also a school levy in Cleveland Heights.

Streetsboro Raises Age Limit

Voters in Streetsboro approved raising the legal age to run for mayor or council from 18 to 23.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting unofficial results in Streetsboro, 1,987, or 58 percent, voted in favor of the issue, and 1,463, or 42 percent voted against it.

Streetsboro leaders put the charter amendment on the ballot after 19-year-old Brett McClafferty ran for mayor in the May primary and came up a vote shy of reaching the two-candidate runoff in the general election.

Ohio requires candidates to be 18 to run for governor and many other offices, but cities can enact more stringent laws for local seats.

The charter amendment also requires candidates to complete a criminal conviction disclosure form.

Polling Problems

The head of elections in Cuyahoga County said Election Day turnout was low Tuesday.

Cuyahoga County Elections Director Jane Platten said that overall voting went well.

There were a few polling places that had trouble getting electronic touch-screen voting machines up and running on time. Some voters were offered paper ballots.

There was an early report of problems with the electronic balloting at Brooklyn High School and Martin Luther King High School. However, poll workers said once the machines were rebooted, casting ballots went quickly and smoothly.

The Cuyahoga County elections board had difficulties adapting to electronic voting starting in May 2006. Platten has concentrated since then on training poll workers to properly deal with new voting equipment.

"This is the only countywide election between now and the presidential election, " said Platten. "We're expecting a 40 to 50 percent turnout for that election. And November is obviously going to be the big one -- definitely."

Other polling places were short on poll observers so some county commissioners were called to help, including Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones who filled in at Sussex Elementary in Shaker Heights.

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