“It is interesting to see the increased early voting turnout and I think some of that increase can be contributed to the pandemic which caused a lot of people to vote early for the first time in 2020,” said Butler County Deputy Director Eric Corbin. “We will need to plan for that number to increase so we will be ready for higher volumes in future elections of both mail and in-person early voting.”
Corbin said the board developed new processes last year due to the high volume of early ballots that had to be processed by hand, and those processes were refined in this year’s lower-turnout election. In 2022, Ohio voters will decide on a few major races, including for governor and U.S. Senate, as well as all of Ohio’s congressional seats.
Forren said it’s difficult to draw any strong conclusions from Tuesday’s results, especially in the Edgewood and Lakota school board races. Both races had several challengers, and each will see two new faces and an incumbent sworn to their boards come January.
“We tend to overread just how big the gaps are in these kinds of elections between the ‘winners’ and the ‘losers,’” Forren said.
In Lakota, where unofficially more than 49,000 votes were cast, less than 1,000 votes separated the top vote-getter and fifth place ― a 1.25% difference. Edgewood wasn’t as close in percentages (first and fifth were separated by more than 10%) but there were nearly 6,500 votes cast for the school board race and first and fifth place were separated by fewer than 670 votes.
In both races, the top three vote-getters won a seat on the respective school boards, and each race returned an incumbent to the board. Because the vote totals were close, Forren said he didn’t see clear evidence of a popular mandate for policy change.
“It will be interesting to see how the winners of the election interpret their wins,” he said.
Vote totals are expected to change, but wouldn’t overturn any Election Day results. Countywide there were 354 provisional ballots cast. The provisional ballots, and any late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots ― there were 657 unreturned vote-by-mail ballots as of Wednesday ― will be counted on Nov. 15 during the official run of the election.
BY THE NUMBERS
Voter turnout: 19.79%
Registered voters: 253,519
Ballots cast: 50,169
Election Day ballots cast: 41,362
SOURCE: Butler County Board of Elections