Tuesday is election day in Ohio. If it’s like so many similar elections, most of you won’t vote.
It’s not that there aren’t things on the ballot. There are contested races on the Republican and Democratic tickets for governor and the U.S. House of Representatives in the 4th and 5th Districts.
Four years ago, just 17.0 percent of voters cast a ballot. Turnout was a little better in local counties, including Hardin County, where 22.6 percent of registered voters voiced their opinions. Allen County had 20.4 percent turnout, while Auglaize County had 21.6 percent and Putnam brought 21.1 percent turnout.
Still, it’s well short of the 40.7 percent of people who turned out to vote in the general election in November 2014, when the same statewide races were on the ballot. And it’s well below the 71.3 percent of voters who spoke up during the presidential election in November 2016.
Maybe you just don’t like partisan elections. Perhaps you’re intimidated when the election worker asks you which party’s ballot you want.
There’s an election for you this year: Just tell them you want a nonpartisan ballot. You’ll still get to vote on important statewide issues, like Issue 1’s proposal to change how Congressional districts get sliced and diced after a Census.
If you’re in Allen County, you can decide on a sales tax increase to pay for new and upgraded county buildings. Voters in the Elida school district get to decide if they’ll build a new elementary school, while voters in Bath can choose to renew a school levy there.
In the St. Marys school district in Auglaize County and Ottawa-Glandorf district in Putnam County, voters get a voice on if their schools need more taxpayer money. Without choosing a single candidate, you still get to say how your money gets spent.
Maybe you just don’t care that much about the slate of candidates you have to choose from. If you’re looking enviously at competitive races for local positions — we’re looking at you, local Democrats — you can always request a ballot for the other side of the aisle.
Yes, you’ll be registered as the other party until the next primary election, but at least you’ll get to vote about things you’ll care about. And given the number of elections actually being decided in the primary because there’s no November competition, namely the judge race in Allen County and the commissioners duels in Auglaize and Putnam counties, you’ll get a say in how your local tax dollars get spent.
Maybe Tuesday voting just isn’t your thing. You can head out to your local board of elections and pick up an absentee ballot. Every board of elections in Ohio has hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. You can fill out your ballot and drop it off immediately, or you could still drop off your vote on election day at a polling place or the board of elections to guarantee it’ll get counted.
Of course, we want you to make educated decisions. You can catch up on all our election coverage at LimaOhio.com/tag/election2018 to catch up on what’s on the ballot and hear from the people involved.
There’s plenty on the line for every election. We urge you to make your voice heard.