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Government and Politics

When it comes to voting in Ohio, what a difference a year makes
Ohio's Secretary of State tries to get out the vote in an off-year election

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Turnout for the May 7 primary may be as low as 20 percent in some counties, a trend Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is battling.
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In The Region:

Absentee voting is underway for the May 7 primary, with a lot less fanfare and likely a lot fewer voters than were drawn out by the presidential race last year. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted the difference a year makes.

SCHULTZE/HUSTED on getting out the vote

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Ohio has no statewide issues or races on the May ballot, which leaves it to the local candidates and issues to drive people to the polls. Secretary of State Jon Husted says the closer-to-home elections are as vital as the marquee matchups like last year’s presidential race. 

“There are 74 counties in which there are … primary elections for things like mayor or local city council. But a lot of other things are levies, like park levies (and) school levies, things that will affect communities across the state of Ohio.”

He acknowledges, though, that it’s tough to compete with national attention-grabbing elections like last year’s.

“There are not hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign ads up on TV now reminding everybody of the high-profile issues that we confront in general elections.”

But, he argues, the off-year elections are as important because “they could determine the quality or content of how your schools operate in your community, what your taxes may be. … It is making up the fabric of communities across the state of Ohio.”

So that means Husted is on a bit of a mission, getting out the vote in an election where some county boards of elections expect a turnout of as little as 20 percent.

His office is reminding people that they can start voting by mail or in person at their county boards now. And that they can go to a web site called to change their addresses, update their registrations and get other information on the election.

People can also register to vote, and cast their ballots at the same time, through Monday.  


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