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Government and Politics


Ohio's bellwether county expects a 30 percent turnout
Polls open at 6:30 a.m., close at 7:30 p.m.
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Even in an off year, Stark County Board of Elections Director Jeannette Mullane expects a 40 percent turnout. Not this year.
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In The Region:

Pumped by massive interest and hundreds of millions of dollars in political advertising, Ohio’s voter turnout last November hit 68 percent. For this Tuesday, predictions are running from 15 to 30 percent. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the most local of elections.

LISTEN: A much quieter Stark County election

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As in the other 20 counties in Northeast Ohio, Stark County’s ballot is dominated by council, school board and township trustee races, as well as local issues. Deputy Board of Elections Director Jeanette Mullane acknowledges it’s the kind of election that often draws only the most regular of voters. And this year, turnout may be worse than most.

“Traditionally, this type of election, we may bring out about 40 percent voter turnout. But with the lack of a statewide issue on the ballot this year, we anticipate a little bit lower turnout.”As in 30 to 35 percent.

So, “our in-office staffing levels are considerably lower than last time.”

Last November, Ohio was the center of the presidential campaign universe, and Stark County played its usual bellwether role. Seventy-one percent of voters cast ballots, many of them during the three days of early voting before the election.

This year, the board wasn’t even open for voting Monday, and the ballots of fewer than 8,000 of the county’s 248,000 – just 3 percent -- registered voters had come in early in person or by mail. 

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