Special Elections Held To Replace Late Congresswoman, Councilwoman

There are two special Democratic Primary Elections slated for Tuesday, October 14th. Polls are open from 6:30AM-7:30PM.

Officials decided to hold the elections after the deaths of Councilwoman Fannie Lewis and Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

AP - A primary election Tuesday in the district of a late congresswoman gives the elections board a trial run of its new counting system before November's presidential election.

Nine Democrats are competing for the chance to serve the final two months of the term of U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress. The winner will run against an independent candidate in a special election Nov. 18.

Tubbs Jones, 58, died unexpectedly on Aug. 20 after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm. The former Cuyahoga County common pleas court judge served five terms in the overwhelmingly Democratic 11th District.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections will use precinct-based equipment to scan marked ballots, alerting voters to disqualifying duplicate votes and compiling unofficial results to be downloaded in a central counting location after voting ends. In this year's presidential primary election, ballots were scanned at a central location instead of at the polls, meaning voters didn't get a chance to correct "overvotes" in which two candidates are selected in one race, disallowing the vote.

Tuesday's election involves 291 of the county's 565 general election voting locations.

The county, the most populous in swing-state Ohio, has a history of flawed elections, including poorly trained poll workers, lost vote-memory cards and lengthy vote-counting.

Tuesday's candidates include Warrensville Heights Mayor Marcia Fudge, who was nominated by local Democrats to replace Tubbs Jones on the Nov. 4 ballot, Jeffrey Johnson of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus and former Cleveland school board member Gerald Henley.

Fudge, a former chief of staff to Tubbs Jones, will face only a nominal challenge in November from Republican Thomas Pekarek. The winner will begin serving a two-year term in January.

The primary and special elections will cost Ohio taxpayers from $4 million to $5.5 million. Gov. Ted Strickland considered not holding the elections, but they are required by the U.S. Constitution.

If Fudge wins both the Nov. 4 election and the special election, she'll be sworn in before other first-term House members elected in November, giving her an important edge in seniority.