Try This One Weird Trick to Get Your Friends and Family to Vote in Cleveland's Primaries

Try This One Weird Trick to Get Your Friends and Family to Vote in Cleveland's Primaries
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Cleveland is burbling with the excitement of an upcoming Mayoral election. Before the primaries on September 12, voters will have ample opportunity to see at least some of the nine candidates in person. If you're able to attend one of the upcoming forums, we recommend doing so.

Reading about political candidates and what they intend to do once in office can be helpful — our Game of Thrones-themed primer this week tried to cover a few important areas of interest — but there's nothing quite like seeing them in person.

The engagement is good, and a sign of civic health. Our goal should be maximum participation in local elections, especially during turbulent, pivotal times such as these and with so many pressing issues facing the nation and the region. Primary elections are nevertheless notorious for low voter turnout. In 2005, the year Frank Jackson ultimately unseated Jane Campbell, 54,417 Cleveland voters cast ballots in the primaries. (Jackson and Campbell were the top two vote-getters, with 38 and 29 percent, respectively).

In 2009, when no formidable candidate challenged Jackson, only about 36,000 Cleveland voters picked a mayoral candidate in the primaries. Bill Patmon and Robert Kilo, two current candidates, placed second and third that year, each securing about 10 percent of the vote, compared to Jackson's 71.)  

In 2013, only Ken Lanci challenged Jackson, so no primaries were necessary for the mayoral contest.

Every vote counts. With votes scattered across so many candidates, a few hundred (or even fewer) votes could tip the scales and propel one of the challengers into the top two.

Perhaps you're still uncertain about the candidate you'll support in September. Perhaps you've been a loyal supporter of one for months. While Scene won't make an official candidate endorsement (though our reporting admittedly discloses consistent qualms with the current administration), what we will endorse is voting, and talking about the election, and encouraging others to do the same.

Municipal elections are less politically partisan than national ones — explicitly so in Cleveland — so discussing what's important to you in a Cleveland Mayoral candidate hopefully won't induce the wrath of your hardcore pro-life uncles or your beatnik cousin with the Jill Stein calf tattoo. If you live in Cleveland, we encourage you to reach out to those in your network to let them know how you're voting and why. A lot of people want to participate, but need a nudge toward one candidate or another. Your encouragement might be just the thing that helps them make a tough decision.

Try sending an email or Facebook message to 10 friends. If you're a brave soul, send one to your family members as well. It might look something like any of the following:

click to enlarge Zack Reed - John G
John G
Zack Reed
Hello Friends / Brothers & Sisters,

The Cleveland Mayoral Election is Sep. 12, and as you've probably seen, there are many candidates out there. I wanted to share with you where my head's at. We live in Cleveland, and I think we should all make a concerted effort to vote in the primaries and to encourage others to do so too! I'm curious to hear your thoughts, but here are mine:  

I've decided to support Zack Reed. Safety First!!! While the Frank Jackson administration might be stable, I have to say the current leadership really bothers me. There are big problems in Cleveland, and I think that 12 years is plenty long enough for one man to try to solve them. Jackson has done some good work, but it's time for new energy at City Hall.

If I'm being realistic, the two current councilmen are the strongest contenders and I want to support a candidate that has a chance to win. Both Zack Reed and Jeff Johnson have said things that resonate with me — like Reed, I think violence in the city is a huge problem that needs to be a top priority; and like Johnson, I think that neighborhoods have been neglected in favor of sweetheart deals for developers downtown. I try not to be bothered by Reed's DUIs or Johnson's extortion conviction, but they do rub me the wrong way.

That said, I've gotten over it. To me, Reed's aggressive stance on safety issues is the most important selling point. He's got an enormous base of support on the east side, and I like how he has made efforts to meet and greet residents on the west side, too. He's been far and away the most active campaigner — he even shook my hand at (INSERT PLACE WHERE REED SHOOK YOUR HAND) — and I'm really impressed by his work ethic. I think he won't phone it in at City Hall and that he'll be an open, charismatic leader. Plus, I just think he's fun.

Vote Reed on Sep. 12!

click to enlarge Jeff Johnson - John G
John G
Jeff Johnson

The Cleveland Mayoral Election is Sep. 12, and as you've probably seen, there are almost too many candidates to count.  As a committed progressive and someone genuinely concerned about the city's future, I wanted to shed some light on my thinking regarding the candidates. To make Democracy work and thrive, we need to participate in it.

That's an idea Jeff Johnson would no doubt support and that's why I'm invested in his campaign. Many of you have shrugged your shoulders and said you'll just vote for Frank Jackson, but to me, that's sad. I want to be excited by the candidate I'm supporting. I want to be energized. And Johnson energizes me. Moreover, Jackson's had his chance. I think that 12 years is long enough for one man to try to solve the city's problems. It'd be silly to deny that Jackson has done some good work, but it's time for new energy at City Hall.

If I'm being realistic, the two current councilmen are the strongest contenders, and I want to support a candidate that has a chance to beat an incumbent like Jackson with mountains of financial support. I try not to be bothered by Reed's DUIs or Johnson's extortion conviction, but they do rub me the wrong way. That said, I've gotten over it. And Johnson has been open about his past, showing a vulnerability that I think is important for the huge numbers of Clevelanders who've had negative experiences with the criminal justice system.

To me, Johnson's consistent support for the residents of Cleveland is the clearest signal that he's the guy for the job. He has supported causes and legislation on City Council, even when they've been unpopular, because he believes they are in the best interests of his constituents. I see in Johnson a candidate that won't be bullied by big-money developers, and I think Cleveland has reached a point where it needs a Mayor who can stand up to corporate special interests. If you've driven through many of Cleveland's neighborhoods, you know that they need much more attention and investment and I believe that Johnson will put his money where his mouth is.

Lastly, he's an orator, and I like the idea of a Mayor who knows how to write and deliver an inspiring speech. So sue me!

Vote Johnson Sep. 12,
Definitely eager to hear your thoughts as well!

click to enlarge Tony Madalone - John G
John G
Tony Madalone
Yo yo yo,

The Cleveland Mayoral Election is Sep. 12, and there are like a million candidates out there. I wanted to touch base with you guys and let you know who I'm supporting — can't hurt to share, right? We live in Cleveland, and we have a direct say in how we are governed. So let's get out there and make our voices heard on Sep. 12.

Me: I've decided to support Tony Madalone. It sounds kind of crazy — I know he's young and has no political experience — but I strongly feel that City Hall is a swamp that needs to be drained. I hate even using that analogy, but Cleveland City Hall is swampy AF. It just is. Everyone is basically dead there. Frank's been legit at times — which you gotta expect from a dude who's been in power for a thousand years — but it's clear he's old and tired and so are his directors. They've all got senioritis, and they've got it bad.

What I like about Madalone is that he represents the cleanest slate of all the candidates. He is the anti-Jackson. Not only is he a savvy young man who has pulled himself up by his bootstraps and knows what it takes to succeed; more than any other candidate, I think he's open to bold — you might even say crazy — ideas. And I think Cleveland needs bold, crazy ideas right now!

Madalone was the first candidate to propose a City Department of Transportation, for example. (Great idea!) And he's even lofted more radical ones — he said he'd secretly love to close Burke Lakefront Airport. That shit would be unthinkable with the current leadership, but wouldn't that be dope?

I know it's possible that he wouldn't connect with a huge number of Cleveland voters, and he'd appoint ill-equipped department heads — and, like, why wouldn't he just run for Council if he says he cares as much as he does? — but I believe him when he says he'll be open and transparent. I think he'll be much more receptive to suggestions (and criticism) than the current administration and that's huge for me. Plus, he'll just do basic no-brainer shit like give the city website a makeover.


I'm with Tony. You should be too on Sep. 12!

click to enlarge Brandon Chrostowski - John G
John G
Brandon Chrostowski
[Template Intro]

In my view, Chrostowski has the most specific, compelling policy agenda of all the candidates. EDWINS has been an extraordinary success story, and I don't see any reason why he couldn't apply those same principles to city departments. City jobs for formerly incarcerated people? Awesome! (I mean, it's sort of like what Frank Jackson does already, except not shady. lol.)

I like the idea of an outsider, and I think Chrostowski's experience is more relevant than Tony Madalone's. He's done some impressive fundraising and I'm persuaded by his rhetoric of unity. When I've spoken to him in person, he's been genuine. And I think his lack of experience will be counterbalanced by his desire to do good.

B.C. or Bust on September 12.
Bon Appetit!

click to enlarge Robert Kilo - John G
John G
Robert Kilo
[Template Intro]

I attended the [West Side / East Side] mayoral forum and I was really impressed with his performance. Kilo has leadership experience in both the business and nonprofit sectors and I think he'll immediately bring efficiency to City Hall. One bad thing about Frank Jackson is that he's a terrible manager, and Kilo excels at management. City Hall would be spit and polish under him.

I'm also attracted to Kilo's principled brand of leadership. He is a Christian and a conservative and I think those qualities transfer well to public service. He has said he intends to be a "servant leader." He doesn't want to be flashy. He just wants to get things done. In the background, he has already been communicating with other Mayors about safety programs and violence reduction. He's smart and he's organized and he's open to collaboration. I think he'll know how to repair the city's many broken systems.

Also, for the last time: It's pronounced KY-lo, not KEY-lo.
Thanks for listening,
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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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