Note that while candidates filed for the May 5, 2015 election, per Ohio Revised Code 3513.02, if a partisan race is not contested, these candidates automatically move on to the November 2015 General Election ballot. So these candidates WILL NOT appear on any voters’ ballot for the May 5, 2015 election. As a result, the election will be called a SPECIAL ELECTION, with only local issues appearing on the ballot.

There will not be the opportunity for any voter to change their political party via the primary voting process. However, every voter in Wayne County will have at least one local issue to vote on, as Wayne County has a renewal of a tax levy in support of Children’s Services on the ballot for May.

By Steve Hoffman
Beacon Journal editorial writer

(Link to story on Ohio.com)

Earlier this month, at the winter meeting of the Ohio Association of Election Officials, a proposal was dropped that could bring dramatic changes to traditional voting methods.

The idea is for Election Day balloting to occur at a small number of vote centers instead of scattered polling locations, each handling a few precincts.

The big plus is that properly registered voters would be allowed to cast a ballot anywhere in a county — a convenience to those who commute to work or have other responsibilities that take them far from home during the day.

Vote centers would also bring an end to a long-running fight in Ohio over what to do about voters who show up in the wrong place. As matters stand, ballots cast by those who show up at the wrong precinct but correct polling location (“right church, wrong pew”) are counted. Not so for those who show up at the wrong polling location.

One way to fix that is to do what some 20 other states do — count so-called “wrong church” votes, at least as many of them as possible. Those voting in the wrong location might not be able to voice an opinion about a local issue, such as a liquor option, or a local candidate.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ohio Association of Election Officials (OAEO) produced this video to help provide the public with an inside glimpse into the planning of each election. Each county board of elections follows these processes to ensure that a successful election is administered. The Wayne County Board of Elections is a member of the OAEO.

one vote matters

COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today offered more reasons why every vote matters and can often have a significant impact on the outcome of an election.

Based on a review of recounts conducted following the 2014 General Election on November 4th, seven local issues were decided by one vote or tied. In each of these instances, one person could have made the difference in deciding whether local taxes would go up, bond issues passed or an area restaurant or store could sell liquor.

“Whether it is a statewide or local issue, every ballot question has an impact on our lives and it is important that every voice is heard,” Secretary Husted said. “When voters stay home they allow others to make these decisions for them.”

Secretary Husted also noted why these findings reinforce the emphasis his administration places on making it easy to vote and hard to cheat.

“Accurate voter rolls and integrity in the elections process are always important, but when a single vote can carry such weight it raises the stakes,” Secretary Husted said. “We, as elections officials, continue to do our part to ensure casting a ballot is easy and the system is secure, but ultimately it is up to the voter to take advantage of the many opportunities to participate in every election.”

A total of 70 local issues and races have been decided by one vote or tied (based on a review of recounts conducted by the Secretary of State’s Office following the 2013 General, 2014 Primary and 2014 General elections).

Read more about Secretary Husted’s efforts to make it easy to vote here, to keep Ohio’s voter rolls accurate and up-to-date here, and on his vigilance in combatting voter fraud and voter suppression here and here.

The mission of the Wayne County Board of Elections is to conduct fair, honest and transparent elections for the citizens of our county. We simultaneously, in the words of Secretary of State Jon Husted, make it “easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

While our purpose is not to influence the amount of people who vote in any given election, it is still a by-product of what we do. So it’s been disappointing to see the lack of voter participation in local and state elections the past two years, capped by an extremely low turnout for this past November general election.

The best way to understand exactly how poor voter turnout has been the last two years is to look at comparable elections from the past.

For the general election of 2013, Wayne County had a total of 15,031 people vote, or 20.63 percent of all registered voters. By comparison, the 2009 general election, which featured the same local offices on the ballot, had 34,140 voters turnout, or 46.39 percent of registered voters.

Now fast forward to the general election of 2014. Only 27,297 Wayne County voters voted, or 37.39 percent of all registered voters. That’s 9 percent less than the 2009 general election, when there wasn’t a governor, representative to Congress or any statewide candidates on the ballot. When compared to the 2010 general election, the last election featuring the same offices, the 2014 general election looks even worse. That year, 38,869 people voted, or 51.83 percent of all registered voters in Wayne County.

This is not just a problem in Wayne County. Voter participation is down both statewide and around the country. The voter turnout for the November 2014 general election in Ohio was 36.2 percent, down 13 percentage points from just four years earlier. Nationwide just 36.4 percent of the voting-eligible population voted in this year’s general election, the lowest turnout since 1942 when many Americans were actively involved in World War II.

There are a myriad of reasons people give for not voting, but none of them are valid enough to warrant skipping any election. Voting is a sacred right that was written into our Constitution and fought for and defended throughout American history. Whether you realize it or not, the action of publicly elected officials, from the president down to local council members, affects the life of every single citizen. We shouldn’t have more people choosing not to participate in democracy than those that do. Can’t we do better than that?

Peter James, Director

Wayne County

Board of Elections