Long before voters came to place their ballots, Doretha Leftwood was at Smothers Elementary School in ward 7 preparing for the elections. She isn’t a candidate or campaign manager, but she plays a key role in the voting process.
Leftwood has served as captain of the 98thvoting precinct for the past eight years, and each year she has a long list of things to do before constituents come to place their ballot.
“I have to open up the machines in the morning, we have a M100 so the so people can start voting, and we have a touch screen that has to be opened when the polls open up at 7 a.m. in the morning,” Leftwood said. “I run a tape that comes off of the touch screen to tell you that there’s a zero balance. It has all the candidates’ names and shows nobody voted.”
As the afternoon began to fade into night a few people trickled into the school to cast their vote. Gail B. Sivels was among the small crowd of people who were hopeful their candidates would be the victor.
“I really looked at what the candidates had to say, attended a couple of their meetings in the community, and I have been a resident of this ward for six years,” Sivels said. “[I] look at what has been done [by the older candidates], what he or she may continue to do and what the new candidates say they will do.”
As of 11 Tuesday evening, more than 8,200 votes had been counted from Ward 7, 4 percent of those came from the 98thprecinct.
Tom Brown, whose vying to be councilmember of Ward 7, said he was the best person for the job because of his “collaborative spirit.”
“I just believe that there are things that bring everyone together, which is a plus. You have such a segregated and divided ward here, but I also think that some of the things I have worked on in the past I’ve had to do that,” Brown said.
“Building a workforce council when employers felt like they didn’t know there was a real workforce east of the river and getting people to believe again that they will get a fair chance to get employment and getting those sides to come together … was very difficult to pull off.”