Less than half of the races in the Journal-News readership area to be decided in Tuesday’s election are contested, and there’s no state issue to drive voter turnout, which is why three-quarters of Butler County’s 244,000 registered voters are expected to sit this election out.
Miami University political science professor John Forren said by not voting, the majority of the voting public will let a minority of voters decide who’s running the communities and schools, and if tax levies pass or fail. He said that’s “unfortunate.”
“One of the long-standing ironies in American politics is that while our local elected officials make some very important decisions about how government affects our day-to-day lives, most of us are only vaguely aware of who serves in local office and what local government actually does for us,” Forren said.
Butler County Board of Elections Director Diane Noonan and Deputy Director Eric Corbin said in a joint statement it’s important for people to vote in every election “because the candidates who are elected to office whether on the local, state or federal level make decisions that impact our daily lives. This year school boards, city and village councils, and township offices are being elected, and those officials will make decisions about the communities we live in.”
Noonan and Corbin expect a 25 percent voter turnout, “and that means a fraction of the electorate is using their ability to influence their government.”
Forren said that’s “unfortunate” because those elected in odd-year elections are the ones that impact residents the most as they directly affect their local taxes, streets and who are governing their communities and schools.
“The decisions made by our local officials are very important in determining our quality of life here in Southwest Ohio,” he said.
Here’s a look at he important things to know about Tuesday’s election:
New Butler County voting machines
Butler County’s new $7.5 million voting machine purchase is working as expected, with no issues during this election cycle’s early voting period, officials said.
The machines, which are described as oversized tablet or smart phone, use the similar technology the majority of people are familiar with, said Corbin.
“It really does operate like your cellphone,” he told the Journal-News last month. “So when people touch the screen, it does what they expect it to do.”
City council races
There are six municipal races contested this election, including eight candidates for three seats on Hamilton City Council.
Middletown City Council has five people seeking two seats after John Hart II dropped out of the race on Thursday. Votes for Hart will not count, election officials said.
Middletown’s mayoral race features incumbent Mayor Larry Mulligan, who’s been mayor since 2008, and his challenger Nicole Condrey, general manager for Start Skydiving.
Monroe City Council has six candidates seeking four seats. Four incumbents are seeking re-election in this race.
There are three seats up for Oxford City Council with five candidates for office. Only one of the candidates is an incumbent officeholder.
Only two of the three incumbents for Trenton City Council is seeking re-election, and four candidates are seeking three open seats.
Village council races
Only two village councils are contested this election. New Miami Mayor Robert Henley is challenged by Stephanie Chandler while Seven Mile Council’s two incumbent members are being challenged by two candidates.
Township offices races
One Fairfield Twp. trustee seat is up with the seat for fiscal officer on Tuesday. Incumbent Shelly Schultz is being challenged by resident JoBeth Yambrich for fiscal officer. Incumbent Joe McAbee is being challenged by former trustee Steve Morgan and township zoning board member DeeDee Ollis.
A trustee seat and the fiscal officer spot are also contested in West Chester and Madison townships.
In West Chester Twp., incumbent fiscal officer Bruce Jones is challenged by Julia Flake, while Trustee Ann Becker is challenged by David Corfman.
In Madison Twp., incumbent fiscal officer Amy Schenck is challenged by Kimberly Lapensee, while Trustee Alan Daniel has two challengers, Rhonda Posey and Jeff Willoughby.
The incumbent trustees for Lemon, Morgan, Ross, St. Clair and Wayne townships all have a single challenger.
School board races
Madison and Talawanda local school districts have the most candidates seeking office among the four school districts with contested races.
Madison Local Schools have seven candidates seeking three seats. Two of the candidates are incumbents seeking re-election. Board member Angela Whiteman is not seeking re-election.
Talawanda Local Schools have six candidates seeking three seats. One of the candidates is an incumbent seeking re-election. Board members Mark Butterfield and Michael Crowder are not on Tuesday’s ballot.
Lakota Local Schools have four candidates seeking two seats. Two of the candidates are incumbents seeking re-election. There are also four candidates seeking a seat on Ross Local School’s board, three of which are incumbents.
Issues on the ballot
Liberty Twp. has a 3-mill, five-year police levy renewal before voters on Election Day, but voters are also being asked in separate ballot questions if they approve of electric and gas aggregation in the township.
Ross Twp. voters are being asked if they would renew the township’s 2.75-mill levy for five years, and Trenton voters are being asked to approve a 3.9-mill, five-year additional roads levy.
Hamilton voters in one precinct are being asked if Party Mart Express on East Avenue can serve alcohol on Sundays. Middletown voters in one precinct are being asked if Central House of Brews on Central Avenue can also serve alcohol on Sundays.
Warren County races
Less than half of the Warren County races for office are contested, including for Franklin Twp. Trustee, Franklin and Carlisle school boards, and Carlisle mayor and council.
Also, there are 14 local issues being asked in Warren County, but all county voters will be asked if they want to renew a 0.5-mill, 10-year tax levy for the Warren County Combined Health District.
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