Morning Headlines: Ohio Predicting Record 75% Voter Turnout; COVID-19 Hospitalizations Hit Another High
Here are the morning headlines for Tuesday, November 3:
- Ohio predicting record 75% voter turnout
- COVID-19 hospitalizations hit another high
- Cleveland says it’s prepared for anything on Election Day and beyond
- Polling location change announced in Akron
- Hudson parent drops lawsuit over in-person classes
- Akron approves starting winter sports
- Top Ohio official tweets inaccurate mail-in voting deadline
- Development planned at former Geauga Lake site
- Cuyahoga County’s interim sheriff retires
Ohio predicting record 75% voter turnout
More than 3.4 million Ohioans have voted early for Tuesday’s presidential election, which is an all-time record. That’s compared to the nearly 1.9 million Ohioans who voted early in the 2016 presidential election, which was a 62% turnout. Ohio Secretory of State Frank LaRose predicts turnout could reach 75% with more than 6 million of the nearly 8.1 million registered voters expected to cast ballots. The polls are open until 7:30 p.m. Voters with unreturned absentee ballots also have the option of physically dropping those off at their county board of elections before polls close.
COVID-19 hospitalizations hit another high
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in Ohio, so do the number of hospitalizations. An all-time high of around 1,800 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, accounting for 7% of total bed capacity. Around 60% of beds are taken up by people with non-coronavirus conditions and 30% of beds are free. The state’s seven-day positivity test rate is 6.9% after another roughly 2,900 cases were reported Monday.
Cleveland says it’s prepared for anything on Election Day and beyond
The city of Cleveland says it’s prepared for a safe Election Day. During a press conference Monday, Mayor Frank Jackson, Police Chief Calvin Williams and others addressed concerns about political unrest within the next few days. Williams says the department on Monday implemented Election Day security plans and they’ll continue as long as necessary. He also says they’re coordinating efforts with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department. Voters are encouraged to say something if they see something by contacting the police department’s communications center.
Polling location change announced in Akron
Summit County elections officials have moved a polling location due to a power outage. Voters who usually cast their ballots at the Summit Lake Community Center should instead go to the Reach Opportunity Center at Summit Lake located on West Crosier Street. These are voters in Akron precinct 3-B.
Hudson parent drops lawsuit over in-person classes
A parent is dropping her lawsuit against Hudson city schools over the district’s move to return to five days of in-person instruction for grades K-8. Jennifer Grega claimed the district violated a resolution it passed in August to make instructional decisions based on Ohio's coronavirus threat level map. Summit County is currently at red level 3. Cleveland.com reports the family reached an agreement with the district for the student to continue online learning through a third-party vendor.
Akron approves starting winter sports
The Akron school board has approved a plan to start winter sports. Contact sports such as basketball and wrestling will require COVID-19 testing, while non-contact sports, such as bowling and swimming, will not. The board approved a contract for rapid testing, for $35 per test, for a limit of $147,000. The money would come from U.S. Department of Education funding distributed to schools to offset costs from the pandemic. The board says venues are limited to 15% capacity and each athlete is allowed two tickets for spectators. Board President Patrick Bravo said it’s up to student athletes and coaches to follow safety protocols.
Top Ohio official tweets inaccurate mail-in voting deadline
Ohio’s attorney general tweeted erroneously Monday that voters had until Tuesday to mail their absentee ballots, when they actually needed to be mailed by Monday. Attorney General Dave Yost's mistake prompted rebukes from Democrats and others and a correction of the record by the state’s elections chief. Yost later deleted the tweet and clarified that absentee ballots were required to be mailed by Monday. Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose tweeted: “DO NOT MAIL your absentee ballot on Election Day!” Followers criticized Yost for confusing voters on the eve of Tuesday’s important presidential election in a key battleground state.
Development planned at former Geauga Lake site
Development plans are taking shape at the former site of Geauga Lake and Sea World in Aurora. Industrial Commercial Properties LLC has purchased the 377-acre property in a deal that was finalized on Friday. Plans have been confirmed to build a Menards home improvement store on 24 acres. There will also be retail, restaurant and office space, along with about 300 housing units. Plans also include developing about 120 acres of green space for public use.
Cuyahoga County’s interim sheriff retires
Cuyahoga County’s interim sheriff is stepping down. David Schilling says he’ll retire at the end of the year due to “family health reasons.” A press release from the county says he’s already out of the office, using medical and family medical leave through the end of the year. Chief Deputy Bryan Smith will be in charge of day-to day-operations while the county begins a search for the next sheriff.