Souls to the Polls: Early Voting in Cleveland

Video: The lines were long, but spirits were high -- and not just because John Legend showed up!

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(The Root) -- Neither gloom nor cold nor waits around 90 minutes deterred prospective voters at the Cuyahoga County Board of Election in Cleveland on Sunday, Nov. 4 (dubbed "Souls to the Polls" Day as many congregations headed to vote after church), when more than 2,500 people cast ballots in Ohio's Democratic stronghold. 

The wait felt like a party. The Obama campaign provided snacks and a quick appearance by John Legend, but the mood was serious. Ohio's 18 electoral votes are critical to President Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney. "We have the power to affect so many lives in this state by what we do today, tomorrow, Tuesday," the R&B singer and Ohio native told the crowd.

No Republican has won a presidential election without carrying Ohio, and the last Democrat to win without Ohio was John F. Kennedy in 1960. The state has been embroiled in early-voting battles throughout the presidential election. Polls were open on Sunday only because the Obama campaign successfully fought Secretary of State Jon Husted's directive to close them on the weekend before Election Day. Today is the deadline for in-person early voting and for mailing in absentee ballots.

Afi-Odelia E. Scruggs is a Cleveland-based journalist.

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