Ohio residents have just more than a week to register to vote in this November’s election, which in Butler and Warren counties feature two statewide issues, several pocketbook levies and dozens of local races.
And on Oct. 11, the day after voter registration ends, Ohioans can begin casting votes at local boards of elections.
RELATED: How do I register to vote?
Miami University Regionals political science professor John Forren said as the voter registration period closes, a lot of people really will just begin to focus on the Nov. 7 general election.
“There are some really important races and issues on the ballot this cycle — and if history tells us anything, it is likely that many Ohioans will choose to sit this election out,” he said. “That would be unfortunate given the importance of the decisions that we are making this election at the state and local levels.”
Odd-year elections are the ones that impact residents the most as they directly affect their local taxes, streets and who’s governing their communities and schools, Forren said.
In the past five odd-year elections — 2015, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2007 — statewide issues drove voter turnout, but it’s uncertain if either of the two statewide issues this year will drive voter turnout. State Issue 1 provides crime victims specific constitutional rights, including how they are treated in respects to their safety and privacy. State Issue 2 would require the state and its agencies to pay the same or lower price for prescription drugs as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays.
In 2015, 2011 and 2009, the last three local elections with statewide issues, voter turnout exceeded 40 percent in Warren County. In Butler County, it exceeded 40 percent in 2015 and 2011, and was nearly 38 percent in 2009. There were three statewide issues in each of those elections, including the legalization of marijuana in 2015, the repeal of Senate Bill 5 in 2011 and allowing casinos to operate in 2009.
But in 2013 and 2007 — which had no statewide issues driving voter turnout — less than 30 percent of registered voters participated in both counties.
“Clearly (this election’s issues) are not as high-profile — although that could change as we get closer to November,” said Forren. “There is clearly a lot of money being spent for advertising — especially for Issue 2 — and we can expect that the ads on both sides of that issue will increase in frequency as November gets closer.”
Forren said there is likely to be “a lot of voter confusion” with the statewide issues, specifically with Issue 2. He said the television advertisements, which have been airing for months, aren’t focusing on the specifics of the policy question.
“There is a significant need for more information in the public sphere about Issue 2,” he said.
Voters who wish to register to vote can do so at their local board of election, which is 1802 Princeton Road in Hamilton for Butler County and 520 Justice Drive in Lebanon for Warren County, or they can register to vote online at MyOhioVote.com. Both offices are open until 9 p.m. on Oct. 10.
Electors may also register to vote at area libraries, public high schools, Bureau of Motor Vehicles facilities and government offices.
Voters who were previously registered in Ohio and who have either changed their name or address should update their voter registration by filling out the voter registration form prior to the deadline. Registered voters in Ohio may update their address online, also at MyOhioVote.com.
Poll workers are still needed for this election in Warren County. Warren County election officials said they need around 125 poll workers, especially Democrats, in all areas of the county. Butler County does not need any more poll workers for November’s election.
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