By Gregory T. Moore
The turnout of voters in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County will be key to the results of the August 8th special election that could determine how constitutional amendments are passed in all future statewide elections. Beginning July 11th during the Early Vote period,voters from across the state will begin casting early ballots on the proposed Issue #1. If passed, it will amend the current Ohio Constitution to increase the percentage of votes needed to pass a proposed constitutional amendment.
Currently a 50% + 1 majority of the vote is needed for passage, which has been the case for over 111 years in the state of Ohio. On May 10th Republican legislators pushed through a controversial bill, Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR2), a constitutional amendment to increase the percentage of votes needed to amend the constitution from 50% +1 to 60%.
By Gregory Moore
Despite a record voter turnout across Cuyahoga County in the August 8th Special Election, thousands of voters encountered a series of problems on election day related to changes in poll locations and the new photo ID requirements. According to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, over 47,000 voters were impacted by changes to polling locations in 50 precincts across eight municipalities including voters in Cleveland’s Wards 7 and 9 where poll consolidations were concentrated. On August 3rd, the County Board had advised voters to confirm their voting location before going to the polls on Election Day.
According to election officials, poll locations are consolidated for a variety of reasons, including the lack of adequate poll workers and the need to reduce poll locations to accommodate what was expected to be a smaller voter turnout. More voters than expected arrived at their previously assigned poll locations and were directed by poll monitors or signage to their newly assigned location.
by Gregory T. Moore
The Feb. 3, 2023 Norfolk Southern Train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio has become a profound wake-up call for Ohio and the nation on the dangers of hazardous toxic materials being transported through states, often without the knowledge of local officials. Preliminary analysis by the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that cargo wheel bearings overheating led to a deficiency in the warning systems that contributed to the derailment. As the testing and cleanup continue, other Ohio cities including Cleveland are taking a second look at railway safety standards for shipping hazardous toxic cargo.
While East Palestine may be ninety miles from Cleveland, the same train that derailed had passed through our city earlier on the same day of the disaster. Several Environmental Justice leaders are asking what if the derailment had taken place in Cleveland, Akron, or Youngstown which all have larger population centers. Central to their concern is the local preparedness for such an environmental disaster that would impact the more populated Northeast Ohio. There were initial fears about what effect the derailment might have had on Lake Erie and the Great Lakes. After several weeks of daily testing of water in Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and treated water supplies by the Erie County Water Authority, there have been “no detected chemicals involved in the train derailment – including vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen that was burned following the accident.”
The Cleveland Water Department released a statement shortly after the derailment asserting that the event in East Palestine “did not affect Cleveland’s Lake Erie Water Source.” However, Cleveland is no stranger to environmental disasters. In the summer of 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught fire, gaining nationwide attention that helped spark a national grassroots movement for new federal guidelines related to clean water. The loose state and local regulatory process that allowed smaller tributaries like the Cuyahoga River to be classified for “industrial use” was not unique to Cleveland.