The Ohio primary election is a little more than a week behind us and already the dust has seemingly settled on issues and races both local and statewide.
What is not new, but still disappointing, is the low turnout of voters. Only 20.9 percent of registered voters made the effort to cast ballots last week. That’s about 1.6 million of the 7.9 million registered voters. It’s also no secret that a host of adults eligible to vote aren’t even registered.
In Cuyahoga County, just 23 percent of registered voters went to the polls, while in Geauga 30.7 percent cast ballots.
In the presidential primary of 2016, some 43 percent of those registered cast ballots, while in the 2014 primary just 16 percent bothered to show up at the polls in Ohio.
Locally, there were some surprises last week. In the Republican race for Geauga County Commissioner, incumbent Walter “Skip” Claypool lost to Burton Township Trustee Jim Dvorak. We see Mr. Dvorak’s win as a message from voters that issues such as parks and groundwater testing do matter. Mr. Dvorak has an equally good chance of winning the seat in this Republican dominated county on Nov. 6 when he faces Middlefield Democrat Anita Blue Marlowe.
School levies did exceedingly well in the area. After a long battle, Chardon Local School District was finally able to get voters to say yes to an operating levy. This win comes after a bitter defeat last year to a similar levy. Berkshire Local School District got a nod from residents for construction of an innovative school on the Kent State University Geauga Campus, and Solon voters supported an issue that will allow the district to continue its tradition of excellence.
Issue 1 took in about 74 percent of the yes votes cast statewide. It creates a bipartisan and public process for drawing congressional lines. The vote tells us that voters are concerned about ending gerrymandering and starting a more unbiased process to create congressional districts that make sense.
In the race for the top office in Ohio, Democrat Richard Cordray won more than 60 percent of the statewide vote, beating out a crowded field including longtime politician Dennis Kucinich. Mr. Cordray landed wins in 86 of 88 counties in Ohio, including Cuyahoga County. He faces Attorney General Mike DeWine in the fall who easily took the Republican primary win from Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. This will be a race to watch in November.
We have about six months to go, but residents should be thinking about the importance of the races and issues in the general election. Issues such as restoring local government funding and finding a consistent and equitable method to pay for public education must be addressed in detail by candidates for governor as well as other state offices. It’s up to voters to express their views by voting.
Also, keep an eye on key offices up for grabs, such as the U.S. Senate race, which pits U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, against U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, who has the backing of President Donald Trump.
In our own backyard, attorney Betsy Rader is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce for Ohio’s 14th District seat. We expect a lot of rhetoric to be exchanged in this race before November rolls around.
We cannot urge people enough to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Does one vote matter? Yes. Consider the race last fall for a delegate seat in the 94th District in Virginia that ended in a tie. A coin toss got Republican David Yancey the win over Democrat Shelly Simonds.
Voting gives each of us a voice in our government. It’s an opportunity to become an active participant in our democracy by expressing what we believe about issues that directly impact our lives. Don’t delay. Start learning about the candidates now.