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Morning news headlines for October 31, 2012
Power outages linger; some absentee ballots rejected over glitch; Obama cancels events

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Power outages linger
  • Some absentee ballots rejected over glitch
  • Obama cancels events
  • Obama ahead in Ohio in poll
  • Storm impacts get-out-the-vote efforts 
  • Pizza-for-votes claim dismissed
  • Stow teen convicted in Craigslist murder case
  • Medical Mart tenants unveiled today
  • Storm clean-up and aftermath
    In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, there are still about 150,000 First Energy customers without power, most of those in Cuyahoga and Lake Counties.  FirstEnergy says about 100 linemen from companies in Montana, Missouri and Canada will soon arrive in Ohio. American Electric Power, meanwhile, reports most of its customers are back online. Flights in and out of Cleveland Hopkins are back on schedule. The Akron Canton Airport still has a couple flights to New York and DC cancelled this morning. Dozens of schools in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties are closed for another day including morning classes at Baldwin Wallace University. 

    Damage is widespread, especially in northern Ohio along Lake Erie where waves as tall as 20 feet crashed ashore. There was a scare in downtown Cleveland when the façade of the Sterling Building on Euclid Avenue appeared to have buckled. The building, which house’s Cuyahoga County’s main computer system, was evacuated. But structural engineers have determined it’s safe to occupy. The state, meanwhile, is lending help to the East Coast. A team of 50 experts in the field of storm recovery are headed to Long Island, New York including a “hazardous incident management team” of 11 members.

    Obama cancels Akron campaign stop
    President Barack Obama's storm-halted campaigning in Ohio will resume Friday. The Obama campaign says a planned rally today at the University of Akron has been cancelled and  a Thursday evening rally in Springfield in western Ohio has been rescheduled to Friday. Meanwhile, former president Bill Clinton is picking up campaigning while Mr. Obama handles storm relief. Clinton has announced he’ll appear in Akron tomorrow. Details are unknown at this time. Republican challenger Mitt Romney kept a campaign event in the Dayton suburb of Kettering on Tuesday, but he focused on efforts to gather storm relief supplies.

    Poll shows Obama ahead in Ohio
    Today’s  Quinnipiac University poll has Barack Obama with a 5-percent lead over Mitt Romney – 50 to 45 percent in Ohio. That’s unchanged from the last poll released October 22nd.  The poll shows Mr. Obama has more support from women, while men go with Romney 50-44 percent. It shows independent voters go Republican 49 - 43 percent. In Ohio's hotly contested U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown leads State Treasurer Josh Mandel, the Republican challenger, 51 - 42 percent. 

    Some absentee ballots rejected over glitch
    Some absentee ballots statewide may have been mistakenly rejected following a glitch. The Plain Dealer reports the state has just now mailed about 33-thousand updated voter registration records to local election boards. That means that some who have already voted absentee will have their ballots rejected because election officials did not have their current addresses. Secretary of State Jon Husted said the delay was caused by a breakdown in the data-sharing partnership between the state and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Cuyahoga County’s elections board tells the Plain Dealer it will send new ballot applications to those with updated records. 

    Storm impacts get-out-the-vote efforts 
    The superstorm has been jeopardizing labor unions' get-out-the-vote efforts in blue-collar areas of northeastern Ohio but contributing to record early-voting turnout in other parts of the state. Democratic state Rep. Bob Hagan of Youngstown said Teamsters president James Hoffa advised pressing forward despite the weather. Hagan said unions have out-of-state helpers that are on a demanding timeline heading into Election Day. In Columbus, a record 4,700 early votes were cast Monday.

    Pizza-for-votes claim dismissed
    A central Ohio elections board inquiry has found no evidence that Democrats backing President Barack Obama's re-election bought votes with pizza. The Ohio Republican Party alleged in a complaint last week that free pizza handed out at early-voting rallies hosted by Democrats and the Buckeyes for Obama student organization violated a law prohibiting something of value to be exchanged for a person's vote. In a letter Tuesday, directors of the Franklin County Board of Elections said they visited two of the group's Ohio State University events and found no evidence of wrongdoing.

    Stow teen convicted in Craigslist murder case
    A jury in Akron has convicted the teenager accused of participating in the slayings of three men lured by phony Craigslist job offers. Prosecutors portrayed 17-year old Brogan Rafftery as a full accomplice in the crimes, while his defense attorney argued he feared for his life and did what his mentor and co-defendant, Richard Beasley told him to. Beasley of Akron awaits trial in January. Rafferty was tried as an adult and faces life in prison when he’s sentenced Monday. 

    Medical Mart tenants unveiled today
    Cuyahoga County today will unveil the first two tenants for its nearly half-billion dollar Medical Mart. The taxpayer-financed project has been under construction since last year…and  includes a connected convention center beneath the downtown mall. It’s scheduled to open in July.

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