Butler County officials say voter turnout extremely low

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Butler County officials said low voter turnout is not unusual in an off-year, local election but the polls across the county were pretty empty all day Tuesday.

Board of Elections Deputy Director Eric Corbin said they were expecting a low turnout at around 20% but as of noon only 9.64% of 253,519 registered voters had cast ballots by 3 p.m. it had only grown to 13.2% with 24,838 casting in-person ballots.

“It’s just slow,” Corbin said. “We’ve had some location supervisors tell us they’ve only had 60 people all day and they’re just waiting.”

Corbin said they will still be counting absentee ballots post-election because there were still 705 of the 8,807 absentee ballots they sent out that hadn’t arrived yet. Late-arriving mailed ballots with a Nov. 1 postmark will be counted if they are received within 10 days.

Voters had important decisions to make Tuesday about who they want leading their governments and schools. City councilmembers, township trustees and village officials decide how well roads will be maintained, how many tax dollars are spent and on what. School board members also make big money decisions but more importantly policy matters that impact the kids.

Generally speaking, older voters are seen voting more often than the younger generations, but 26-year-old Catherine Tiner talked to the Journal-News while voting at Lakota East.

“I really think it’s important that we can speak minds,” Tiner said. “I feel like politics is dominated a lot by older folks and so I want to still make sure our voices are heard.”

There were contested races in Hamilton, Middletown, Trenton and Fairfield, Liberty, Milford, Morgan, St. Clair, Wayne and West Chester townships as well as several school boards and tax levy questions.

“It’s hard to know why people aren’t coming out but there are a lot of uncontested races on the ballot,” Corbin said. "

By comparison, in the last local election in 2019 the total turnout was 19.1%, in 2017 25% cast ballots and 2015 the turnout was 41.6% but Corbin said “there was a marijuana issue on the ballot.” By late afternoon the highest turnout was a precinct in Oxford at 27%.

He said they got all the polls open on time but they had a higher number of no-show poll workers due to COVID “but not to a critical point where were concerned.”

“We did have some poll workers call off, as we always do but I think we had a little higher this time,” Corbin said. “They were calling in saying I was exposed to someone who had COVID. That’s just kind of difficult to deal with still, we can’t tell them to come in, even with the vaccines in place.”

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