Butler County sees nearly 17% voter turnout for primary election

As Ohio polls closed at 7:30 p.m. today, Butler County saw 16.95% of all registered voters turnout on Election Day and during early voting.

There were 253,191 registered voters in Butler County and 42,920 votes were cast.

Turnout is likely to rise once late-arriving ballots are counted. Ohio allows vote-by-mail ballots to be counted as long as they are postmarked by the last day of early voting, which was May 2, and received within 10 days of Election Day.

BOE officials projected a 15% voter turnout rate despite a really slow start Tuesday morning and intermittent waves of bad weather.

Deputy BOE Director Eric Corbin said by late afternoon, voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary election was nearly 12%, or 20,680 votes after starting the day with 1,300 in-person voters. There are 253,191 registered voters in the county and 7,428 people voted early or absentee. There were still 732 outstanding mail-in ballots due.

The last gubernatorial primary race was in 2018 when turnout was 15.2%.

Corbin said although they predicted a low turnout, he was a little surprised given the crowded gubernatorial tickets and the hotly contested Senate seat. Former President Donald Trump’s surprise endorsement of J.D. Vance drew national attention.

“There’s the governors race and certainly the Senate race has had a lot of attention even on the national level,” Corbin said. “Even people outside of Ohio have been watching the Senate race. We wish we could have brought some voters out to have their voices heard.”

There were a couple big ticket pocketbook questions on the ballot that likely drew voters. A 1-mill property tax levy was on the ballot in Middletown that would generate $16.8 million to build four fire stations.

Theresa Jones was doing her civic duty in Middletown on Tuesday morning.

“It’s my right and my duty to express how I feel. I feel like at least I put my opinion in,” she said. “It’s a rainy day but I think you’ll feel real good that you did.”

ExplorePrimary Election Day in Butler County: A look at the races and issues

Gail Chenault was at Creekside Middle School in Fairfield and she said she always votes, although this was her first time in-person since the pandemic.

“We’ve got a lot of issues and I’ve always heard that if you don’t become part of the process and get in voting then you shouldn’t be complaining,” she said. “So that’s why I think it’s important to come out and vote.”

This has been an unusual election cycle; voters couldn’t vote for state legislative leaders because the redistricting mess is still unsolved. And Democrats had to work just a bit harder to get their candidate for county auditor on the ballot in November.

Corbin said 5,073 Republican and 2,275 Democratic ballots were pulled in pre-election day voting.

On Tuesday, there were just a few minor issues, he said. One voter in Fairfield complained there was a fire truck parked within 100 feet of the polling place at city hall, “they felt that was unfair since there was a fire levy in Fairfield.”

He said they had quite a few people who thought their polling place was the BOE building in Hamilton who had to be redirected. Corbin said its possible since many people have been voting early since the pandemic they could have been a little confused.

The power went out briefly when a storm blew through at around 3 p.m. but the BOE has a back-up generator.