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Published: Monday, 3/3/2008

14,223 cast early ballots in Lucas County

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Brandon Jackson, 9, center, keeps an eye on his parents, Brady Jackson and Felicitas Jackson of Holland, who cast early votes. Brandon Jackson, 9, center, keeps an eye on his parents, Brady Jackson and Felicitas Jackson of Holland, who cast early votes.
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Nearly 600 people spent their Sunday morning and early afternoon standing in line inside Government Center as Lucas County voters continued to cast their ballots early for tomorrow's primary election.

Board of Elections officials decided to extend voting hours to yesterday to accommodate the heavy demand for absentee ballots. Nearly 700 people cast ballots during Saturday's voting, and altogether the county has received 14,223 absentee ballots so far for the primary, said Marty Limmer, information services manager.

Several of those standing inside Government Center said that they would rather wait around on their weekend than discover an even longer line during Tuesday's voting - from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

"I don't want to take a chance on the line Tuesday," said Darlene Gaines, of West Toledo, who calculated her waiting time yesterday at more than half an hour.

Also yesterday the stump-speech circuit continued down the primary homestretch as Toledo received visits from four out-of-town Ohio mayors, as well as Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland.

Mrs. Strickland addressed a crowd of more than 300 Democratic supporters inside the St. Stephen's Church school hall in East Toledo during Rep. Peter Ujvagi's (D., Toledo) annual chicken paprikas dinner. Facing a room which appeared about evenly split between Clinton supporters and those of Sen. Barack Obama, Mrs. Strickland did her best to rouse support for the candidate supported by both her and her husband: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"I think her win as president of the United States means more to him than even his own race for governor," she said.

While in the House of Representatives, Gov. Ted Strickland worked with Mrs. Clinton in the 1990s on a failed national health-care plan. Mrs. Strickland said her husband continues to admire Mrs. Clinton for her continued efforts to bring health-care coverage for all Americans.

Nearing the end of her remarks, Mrs. Strickland said she was "initially bothered" by Mrs. Clinton's vote in 2002 that helped authorize the Iraq War. Mr. Strickland at the time voted against the use of military force, as well as $87 million in war funding in 2003.

Yet since then Mrs. Strickland said that she become more understanding of the circumstances that surrounded Mrs. Clinton's 2002 vote, just a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in her state of New York.

"If he [Governor Strickland] was standing in the ashes with the broken-hearted people who were seeking justice I don't know if he would make that same vote."

Mrs. Strickland was also joined at the dinner by Mike Porter of Mount Gilead, Joe Sulzer of Chillicothe, Mike Lorentz of Belpre, and former Belpre mayor Bill McAfee

The four Clinton supporters arrived in Toledo that afternoon to give a news conference after having attended a morning Clinton rally in Columbus.

Frances Strickland, wife of Gov. Ted Strickland, speaks at Democratic state Rep. Peter Ujvagi's annual chicken paprikas dinner at St. Stephen's Catholic Church in East Toledo.
Frances Strickland, wife of Gov. Ted Strickland, speaks at Democratic state Rep. Peter Ujvagi's annual chicken paprikas dinner at St. Stephen's Catholic Church in East Toledo.
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Standing side-by-side inside the Clinton campaign's Toledo headquarters at 5220 Lewis Ave., the mayors stressed the importance of providing access to health care and efforts to stop Ohio's hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs.

"We see our jobs going overseas and not staying here in this country or here in this state, and that's wrong," Mr. Sulzer said. "Hard-working Americans like you and those Americans in Toledo deserve the jobs that are going overseas."

Contact JC Reindl at: jreindl@theblade.com or 419-724-6065.



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