Prove all the pundits wrong; commit to vote in primary
Odd-year elections rarely win any acclaim for robust voter participation. And so it is for this week’s primary election for which fewer than 2 in 10 eligible voters are likely to turn out for contested races and issues in the Mahoning Valley.
Officials at boards of election in our region once again are predicting depressingly low voter turnouts — ranging from as low as 12 percent in Trumbull County to an overly optimistic 25 percent in Mahoning County.
And generally speaking, projections from county boards of election fall short of actual turnouts. We hope, however, that the Valley electorate surprises us with much higher percentages Tuesday.
After all, much is at stake at the polls for grass-roots government in cities and municipalities throughout the region.
In Youngstown, voters in all seven wards will be reinventing city council for 2016 and 2017. With only three incumbents on the ballot for re-election, that means the majority of council will be newcomers. And given our region’s Democrat dominance, the winners in each of the party primaries most likely will become winners by default come November.
In Struthers, voters face a disturbingly difficult choice for mayor as they are forced to opt between two convicted criminals. In Niles, the mayor’s race is set against a backdrop of financial irregularities that have landed the city in the throes of fiscal emergency.
Though there are far fewer school tax issues on the ballot than average, a hot additional emergency tax levy in South Range and a bond issue in Lakeview have generated considerable attention and debate.
Thus, we urge residents of the Mahoning Valley to responsibly cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary election. As usual, polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The Vindicator’s commitment to elections is long-standing. We spend hours in endorsement meetings with candidates for office and with representatives of major ballot issues. Based on what we learn, in those interviews and elsewhere, we issue endorsements.
What follows is a summary of our recommendations for races and issues that we explained in greater detail in editorials in this space over the past two weeks:
Youngstown City Council
1st Ward: Julius T. Oliver
2nd Ward: T.J. Rodgers
3rd Ward: Nate Pinkard
4th Ward: Mike Ray
5th Ward: Lauren McNally
6th Ward: Anita Davis
7th Ward: Holly Lynn Hanni
Mayor: No endorsement
Mayor: Ralph Infante
School tax issues
Hubbard Schools: A 4.9-mill, 5-year renewal levy for the emergency requirements of the school district: YES
Liberty Schools: A 7.75-mill, 5-year renewal levy for the emergency requirements of the school district: YES
Lordstown Schools: A 5.9-mill, 5-year renewal levy and a 5.4-mill, 5-year renewal levy for emergency requirements: YES
Maplewood Schools: A 5.4-mill, 10-year renewal levy for emergency requirements: YES
Newton Falls Schools: A 4.55-mill, 5-year renewal levy for emergency requirements: YES