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Government & Politics
2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Kamala Harris in Cleveland: 'Your Vote Is Your Voice'

a photo of Kamala Harris
Nick Castele
/
WCPN
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was on the campaign trail in Cleveland Saturday, speaking to supporters at Cuyahoga Community College.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris urged Northeast Ohio voters to make their voices heard at the ballot box over the next 10 days, rallying support for Joe Biden in a campaign trip through Cleveland on Saturday.

Harris’ motorcade rolled from Downtown Cleveland to Lakewood, to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections and finally to Cuyahoga Community College as the presidential contest nears its final week before Election Day.

“I came to Cleveland to say thank you,” the California senator told voters outside the board of elections. “Thank you for standing in this line. Thank you for voting and voting early. Your vote is your voice, your voice is your vote, there is so much at stake, don’t let anyone ever take your power.”

Using a microphone and amplifier, Harris spoke from the other side of East 30th Street a few hundred feet down the block from the board of elections’ entrance. She walked up and down East 30th, waving as people cheered.
More than 2,400 voters cast ballots at the board of elections on Saturday. At one point in the morning, the line reached to the campus of Cleveland State University.

Later Saturday afternoon, about 170 miles to the south, President Donald Trump spoke to supporters in Circleville, seeking to drum up support and repeat his 8-point win in the Buckeye State four years ago.

Polls show a tighter race in Ohio this time around, and higher voter turnout in heavily Democratic areas like Cuyahoga County could help boost Biden’s chances.

At Tri-C, Harris told a socially distant crowd of about 60 people to work the phones and send emails to help turn out people who might not otherwise cast a ballot.  

“Let us know, nobody gives us our power, we take our power,” Harris said. “We were born with our power, we will use our power, and around election time, that means we will vote. And we will encourage everybody we know to vote.”

Harris said the country faced multiple crises in the form of the coronavirus, the pandemic’s economic toll, racial injustice and climate change. That same afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health announced that the state had seen its largest increase in COVID-19 cases yet, continuing a week of climbing virus numbers.

Along with Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Harris visited Zanzibar Soul Fusion in Downtown Cleveland, talking with owner Johnny Hutton and others about how the business is weathering the pandemic.

“The community has really pitched in and really put forth a good strong foot,” said Hutton, who added his restaurant is largely surviving on takeout and delivery orders.

In Lakewood, Harris and Fudge were joined by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), meeting with Abbey Markiewitz and Julia Gramenz, the owners of clothing boutique Fetch & Co.

Before departing Cleveland from Burke Lakefront Airport, Harris told reporters on the tarmac she will vote against the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett next week, calling the process “illegitimate” and saying that voters should decide on the president first. Harris skipped Saturday’s rare weekend session of the U.S. Senate, where Barrett’s nomination is being debated, in favor of the campaign trail.

The presidential campaigns have showered increasing attention on Ohio in the final weeks of the campaign. Joe Biden spoke in Toledo and Cincinnati earlier this month, and Vice President Mike Pence held a rally in Cincinnati last week.
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