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Deadline passes for November election with dozens jumping into Butler County races

Decisions voters make in local elections, also referred to as odd-year elections, impact them more than statewide and national elections. Candidates for office must file by Aug. 7, 2019, for the Nov. 5, 2019 general election. Voters must register by Oct. 7, 2019, to vote in November’s election. FILE
Decisions voters make in local elections, also referred to as odd-year elections, impact them more than statewide and national elections. Candidates for office must file by Aug. 7, 2019, for the Nov. 5, 2019 general election. Voters must register by Oct. 7, 2019, to vote in November’s election. FILE

Voter turnout this November is expected to be “very low” with no state or county issue for the public to decide, experts say.

Candidates for local office had until 4 p.m. Wednesday to file petitions to be on the Nov. 5 general election. Offices for city and village councils, township trustee and school board are up for election this fall, but less than 30 percent of the 252,000 registered Butler County voters are likely to participate, according to historical election data.

Miami University Regionals political science professor John Forren sees even more of the county's registered voters "sitting out" this election. Voter turnout could be around 20 percent, or less, he said.

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“With no high-profile statewide — or even countywide — races or issues on the ballot, no well-financed advertising efforts focused on getting the vote out, no wall-to-wall media coverage of local races and with voters’ attention already focused on 2020 rather than 2019, it’s a good bet that lots of people have no idea at all that an election is coming up,” he said.

Forren said the anticipated low turnout is "understandable" because people are busy. But even with recent voting reforms in Ohio, he said "there is still a lot that we could do to make the process of voting easier for everyone."

“Nonetheless, it will be unfortunate if most voters sit out in November because our local governments — our city councils, school boards, township boards of trustees and the like — are really where the action is at when it comes to making decisions about the day-to-day quality of life in our communities,” he said.
Cedarville University political science professor Mark C. Smith said low turnout comes because many voters are only interested in national elections.

"Our current politics are driven by the federal level, especially presidential elections," he said. "For many voters, they are simply not engaged unless there are races at the top of the ticket."

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There are 63 races on the Nov. 5 ballot, less than half of which will be contested. Elections office staff will check signatures on all petitions for office, and valid petitions will be certified at the Aug. 19 board of elections meeting.

Most of the dozens of candidates who will be on the fall ballot, however, will be in one of four races.

Hamilton and Monroe will see as many as eight candidates seeking three and four seats on city councils, respectively. Madison and Talawanda local school districts each have three open seats and could have as many as eight candidates each.

There are also four people seeking one of two seats on the Seven Mile Village Council, which governs a community of an estimated 780 residents.

Ohioans who want to vote in the Nov. 5 election has until Oct. 7 to register to vote, which can be done online with the Butler County Board of Elections or Ohio Secretary of State.

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CROWDED FIELDS

There several crowded races in the Nov. 5 general election. Here are the most crowded races:

Hamilton City Council: 8 candidates seeking one of three seats

Monroe City Council: 8 candidates seeking one of four seats

Madison Local School Board: 7 candidates seeking one of three seats

Talawanda Local School Board: 7 candidates seeking one of three seats

Source: Butler County Board of Elections

CROWDED FIELDS

There several crowded races in the Nov. 5 general election. Here are the most crowded races:

Hamilton City Council: 8 candidates seeking one of three seats

Monroe City Council: 8 candidates seeking one of four seats

Madison Local School Board: 7 candidates seeking one of three seats

Talawanda Local School Board: 7 candidates seeking one of three seats

Source: Butler County Board of Elections