We’re in the final stretch of the 2022 general election, which means there are just a few more days to call or email me to tell me how biased we are here at The Lima News.
Over the past few months, we’ve received regular communications about how we favor the Republicans or we favor the Democrats. It’s all part of a difficult dance to navigate. We aim to be fair and equitable to all candidates in a world that isn’t always fair or equitable.
We do our best, but people will see biases whenever they can.
For instance, I received a complaint from someone about how The Lima News covered the Democratic fall dinner in comparison to the Republican dinner. We used the exact same page design for each event, with the same number of pictures and the same story length by the same reporter. Yet somehow the GOP got “more attention,” according to a caller.
It’s a lose-lose situation that we run into every election, despite our best efforts to be objective and in the middle of the road. Occasionally we miss out on a candidate’s visit simply because we weren’t informed they’d be here. Sometimes it’s so last-minute it’s impossible to make it. There was one candidate whose staff called us in Lima to tell us the candidate just pulled into a town half an hour from here and would be there for about 15 minutes.
I’m sure we’ll also be criticized once you open Tuesday’s newspaper. There’s a big rally for U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance in Dayton on Monday night, with former President Donald Trump planning to speak. We won’t have it on our front page, though. We have a longstanding policy not to include any election coverage on our Tuesday front page on an election day, in our effort to not try to sway your vote on Election Day one way or the other.
It’s not because we support or oppose Vance, Trump or anyone else. We’re fully aware Trump won at least 69% of the vote in every county in our area back in 2020. We just don’t want to be accused of leaving one lasting impression of one candidate or another, pro or con, right before you vote.
Trust me, most people still vote on Election Day, even with Ohio’s generous absentee voting rules. Just 10% of registered voters in Allen, Auglaize, Hardin, Putnam and Van Wert counties turned in an early vote by last Tuesday, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. I know it’s my preference to vote on Election Day too.
It’s such an important right, and it’s an opportunity to show how we think and feel about the issues. While our area has a history of being conservative, it’s worth noting most of you aren’t registered with either party, meaning you didn’t vote in the primary. Only 28% of area voters are registered Republicans, with 7% of you as Democrats. There’s a minuscule number of libertarians, but the bulk of you, 65% of you, are considered independents.
I keep hearing pundits say this is the most important election of our lifetimes, yet history tells us many people won’t bother. Four years ago, in the last similar election, voter turnout in the five-county area was 51% of the registered voters.
That’s just the registered voters, though. Keep in mind about 13% of people older than 18 in our region aren’t registered to vote. That means only about 44% of the voting-age population actually cast a ballot in 2018.
Keep that in mind the next time a politician or candidate tells you they received a message “loud and clear” from the people. With many elections winding up somewhere around the 50-50 mark for and against something, that could mean just 23% of the voting-age population actually said they wanted it.
If all of us took advantage of our right to vote, they might finally be right that they have a mandate from the people.
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See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.
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