If you want to cast a ballot, you don’t have to wait until May 6.
Early voting started Tuesday at the Lorain County Board of Elections office, 1985 North Ridge Rd., Sheffield Township.
Registered voters who requested absentee ballots should receive them in the mail this week.
There aren’t any Amherst candidates in this spring’s races, but there are a couple of county seats and some very influentual state offices up for grabs — and local voters can weigh in on those.
The highest-profile battle this year is for Ohio governor. Incument John Kasich is unopposed in the Republican primary, while Democrats Edward FitzGerald and Larry Ealy are seeking their party’s backing.
Anita Rios is also in the mix on the Green Party ticket.
Libertarian candidate Charlie Earl was disqualified from the ballot. Ohio Secretary of State John Husted ruled Earl did not properly collect signatures to run.
Of note, Congressman Jim Jordan (R-4th District) is safe in the primary, but will be challenged this fall by Oberlin teacher Janet Garrett, if she does well enough this spring.
She’ll need to get at least 50 write-in votes by the time the polls close to face Jordan in November.
In an interview with our sister newspaper, the Oberlin News-Tribune, Garrett criticized the incumbent’s record on the minimum wage, jobs, and education.
Most other state posts have sail-through candidates until November, which is the trend at the county level as well.
Commissioner Tom Williams (R-Amherst) will have the rest of the year to campaign against contender Matt Lundy (D-Elyria).
Craig Snodgrass (D) is a shoe-in for county auditor and judge James Walther is unopposed to keep his probate court seat.
The rather tame election will also feature several issues that Amherst voters can help decide on.
Issue 1, if passed, will allow the Ohio General Assembly to borrow $1.875 billion over the next decade. The cash would allow bonds to build roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.
It’s similar to the measure voters first passed in 1987 and renewed twice since.
Issue 10 is for a new 0.08-mill levy to support the Lorain County Criminal Justice Service Crime Lab for five years.
Issue 11 would create a 0.065-mill levy to help revive the flagging Lorain County Transit system, which years ago pulled its bus routes out of Amherst. Today it primarily services Elyria and Lorain, with Monday and Thursday on-call service to Oberlin.
Brownhelm Township voters just to the west of Amherst will have a fire and ambulance levy up for decision. Issue 24 would add two mills for five years for safety services.
Local residents who want to vote early can do so at the elections board office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and tomorrow, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, April 11.
Voting hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday from April 14 to May 2, and 8 a.m. to noon on May 3.
The cutoff to request an absentee ballot is noon on May 3. Call 440-326-5900.
Voted ballots must be postmarked the day before Election Day and received no later than May 16. Absentee ballots may also be delivered in person to the board of elections no later than the close of the polls on Election Day. They may not be returned at polling locations.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or on Twitter at @EditorHawk.