Butler County voters to decide 40 ballot issues on Nov. 8

Each area’s ballot is different, but all will see statewide issues, children services levy and more.

In a little over three weeks, voting for the Nov. 8 general election begins. It will also be Ohio’s third election this year.

Butler County is ready for the fall’s general election, which will feature some high-profile statewide office races ― notably Gov. Mike DeWine facing former Dayton mayor, Democrat Nan Whaley for governor, and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan facing Middletown native and author J.D. Vance for U.S. Senate ― and contested congressional and statehouse races.

This will be the third straight congressional election where U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, will be challenged by Democrat candidate Vanessa Enoch, and the third straight (and sixth out of the past seven) where all three of Butler County’s Statehouse members will be challenged (only two of the three were challenged in 2016).

The statehouse races will have new numbers assigned to the districts, which also have been altered. The districts include:

  • House District 40, where Rep. Rodney Creech is challenged by Amy Cox;
  • House District 45, where Rep. Jennifer Gross, R-West Chester Twp. is challenged by Chuck Horn, a Democrat from West Chester Twp.;
  • House District 46, where Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Twp., is challenged by Lawrence Mulligan, Jr., a Democrat from Middletown, and
  • House District 47, where Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, is challenged by Sam Lawrence, a Democrat from Oxford.

There are 40 issues and local options up for consideration. Though no single voter will see all of them, all Butler County voters will see the two statewide issues and the Butler County Children Services renewal of a 2 mill, five-year levy.

Some voters will see one of 15 other tax requests and seven local options requests. Monroe has three charter amendment questions, and Trenton has 11. Ross Twp. is asking voters to consider adopting a proposed zoning plan.

Poll workers needed

National reports of poll worker shortages don’t seem to be impacting Butler County, said Butler County elections office Deputy Director Eric Corbin.

“So far, we have been able to recruit many of our veteran poll workers for the November election,” said Corbin. “As always, we are looking for new poll workers who are interested in serving their community, earning some extra cash and/or continuing education hours.”

Poll workers can earn about $200 for working on Election Day, as well as the set up on the day before and training ahead of the election.

Recruiting poll workers was a challenge ahead of the August primary, which was unplanned at the start of 2022. Early Voting Administrator Nicole Unzicker said, “The main challenge with the August election was recruiting poll workers during a time of year where many people were on vacation or unable to help due to other commitments.”

Anyone who wishes to be a poll worker can sign up at elections.bcohio.gov and select the “Poll Workers” tab at the top of the site.

But they made it work at the Aug. 2 primary, which featured nominating races for Ohio House and Senate candidates, partisan state central committee races, and a Ross Local Schools tax issue.

Voter registration

Butler County voters interested in deciding who wins on Election Day must register to vote, which can be done at the board of elections office at 1801 Princeton Road in Hamilton or online at the Ohio Secretary of State’s website, VoteOhio.gov. That same site can be used to update a voter’s registration information, such as if you have a change of address.

Voters can visit elections.bcohio.gov and select “Voter Tools” at the top of the webpage to find out where to vote and, when ballots are ready, what they’ll be deciding on Nov. 8 or during the four weeks of early voting.

Voter registration, which can be done online, ends on Oct. 11, and early voting begins on Oct. 12.

It’s uncertain how popular early voting will be, specifically vote by mail. In the November 2018 election, the Butler County Board of Elections received 21,749 vote-by-mail ballots out of 23,787 requests. In the 2020 election, the first general election during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than double the number of vote-by-mail ballots were requested and returned.

“This large discrepancy makes it difficult to predict exactly how many voters will choose to cast their ballot by mail,” Unzicker said. She said as of Sept. 13, 56 days before the election, about 5,500 voters in Butler County have requested a vote-by-mail ballot. Four years earlier, during the last gubernatorial election, when it was 56 days before the general election, about 2,500 voters had requested a mail ballot.

The popularity of early voting, which includes vote-by-mail and in-office voting ahead of Election Day, has increased. From the 2014 to 2018 gubernatorial elections, total early voting increased by 5%, and represented just under 20% of the total early votes in each year.

But the elections in 2020 forced voters to heavily consider vote-by-mail ballots because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a controversial 11th-hour decision, the March 2020 primary was extended until April 28 and Election Day was essentially canceled. All voters from March 17 until April 28 were required to cast votes by mail.

That election had an impact on the November 2020 presidential election. While elections officials don’t compare different types of elections ― presidential elections historically see more voters participate than in a gubernatorial election ― vote-by-mail ballots were nearly a third of all votes. Total early ballots cast were around 60%, according to the Butler County elections office.

The 2020 election also brought out questions about election security. However, Corbin said Ohio’s boards of elections have had strong security in place for years.

“Bipartisan security measures are in place to maintain election integrity regarding physical and electronic access to board systems,” he said. “Tabulation equipment is never connected to the Internet. Cyber security measures have been implemented to provide additional safeguards.”


ELECTION DATES AND DEADLINES

  • Military and Overseas Absentee Voting begins Sept. 23
  • Deadline to register to vote in this fall’s election is Oct. 11 (register at VoteOhio.gov)
  • Voters can request a vote-by-mail ballot now by submitting an application. Ballots will start to be mailed out on Oct. 12, the first day of early voting.
  • Early in-person voting begins Oct. 12 and includes the two Saturdays, the Sunday and the Monday before Election Day.
  • Election Day is Nov. 8, and polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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