Voter turnout in Butler County below projections

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Voter turnout in Butler County below projections

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Less than 30 percent of Butler County voters participated in the Nov. 7, 2017, general election, according to the unofficial election results. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/FILE

Voter turnout last Tuesday in Butler County was below projections.

Overall, voter turnout in Butler County was 24.9 percent, according to unofficial results, which is lower than the 30 percent turnout Butler County elections officials projected prior to Tuesday.

The best voter turnout in Butler County on Tuesday, were for the Reily Twp. tax levy renewal where 42.33 percent of voters came out for that pocketbook issue.

The worst was in New Miami. The races for New Miami Village Council and Public Affairs, and the New Miami 2-mill tax levy that raised taxes on the residents, were each decided by 12.38 percent of registered voters.

Miami University Regionals political science professor John Forren said he’s not surprised by the low voter turnout — odd-year elections where local officials are elected tend to have the lowest voter participation.

While he expected that, he said this past Tuesday’s election turnout “is especially discouraging.”

“A democracy requires active and engaged citizens — and this latest election is another reminder that we have a lot of work to do as a state to find better ways of getting people interested in and involved with our democratic system of government,” Forren said.

And in the end, it appears that two out of every three eligible voters “sat out this election,” he said.

And these odd-year elections, when local mayors, city councils and school board members are elected, are the ones that impact people the most. And it looks like voter turnout will be lower than when it was in 2013, when there were no statewide issues on the ballot.

With the amount of money spent for and against Issue 2, which would have mandated the price Ohio would purchase medication, it was hoped that voter turnout would had been higher.

But confusion among voters is likely to blame the defeat for Issue 2, and just one factor in the lack of motivation to go to the polls, Forren said.

“More generally, it’s the latest indication that we have a civic engagement problem in Ohio,” he said. “Election after election, we see millions of Ohioans sit out while we decide as a state who will lead our government and what our laws will be.”

BY THE NUMBERS

Here is the voter turnout by race in the most populated communities in Butler County (ordered lowest to highest):

  • 20.52 percent: Hamilton City Council and Mayor
  • 20.6 percent: Hamilton School Board
  • 21.2 percent: Middletown Municipal Judge
  • 21.59 percent: Middletown School Board
  • 21.86 percent: Middletown City Council
  • 21.92 percent: Fairfield City Council and Mayor
  • 23.96 percent: Fairfield School Board (both races)
  • 26.44 percent: Liberty Twp. Trustee
  • 27.89 percent: Fairfield Twp. Trustee
  • 29.06 percent: West Chester Twp. Trustee (both races)
  • 35.14 percent: Lakota School Board

Source: Butler County Board of Elections

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