With so much attention focused on the hotly contested and hyperpublicized presidential race in 2016, Ohioans can be excused for letting tomorrow’s critical off-year election slip their minds. They should not be excused, however, for failing to take the 2015 general election seriously.
Truth be told, the results of electing local candidates for community governments and casting ballots on local tax issues in school districts and communities will make a much heavier impact on voters in the state and the Mahoning Valley than will the evolving foreign-policy platforms of Donald Trump, John Kasich, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, et al.
Nonetheless odd-year elections rarely win any acclaim for robust voter participation. This year likely will be no different. Leaders of boards of elections in the Mahoning Valley predict voter turnout of between 30 percent and 40 percent.
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, particularly since weather forecasters call for a sunny picture-perfect Indian summer day with highs around 70.
After all, much is at stake at the polls for grass-roots government in cities and municipalities throughout the region. Statewide, the hottest ballot issues – Issue 3 to legalize marijuana and Issue 2 to ban monopolies such as the investor group in Issue 3 – have generated lively debate.
We urge residents of the Mahoning Valley to cast ballots responsibly in Tuesday’s election. As usual, polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Ohio.
LIST OF ENDORSEMENTS, RECOMMENDATIONS
The Vindicator’s commitment to elections is long-standing. We spend hours in endorsement meetings with candidates for office and pore over details of many state and local ballot issues.
Based on what we learn, 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:
Austintown Township trustee: Rick Stauffer
Boardman Township trustee: Larry Moliterno
Canfield Township trustee: Stephen Maszczak
Girard mayor: James J. Melfi
Liberty Township trustee: Jodi Stoyak
Niles mayor: Thomas Scarnecchia
Warren mayor: Dennis Blank
Among the hot-button state ballot measures, The Vindicator issued these recommendations on state Issues 1, 2 and 3:
YES: State Issue 1 would create a bipartisan, public process to redraw Ohio’s legislative districts.
YES: State Issue 2 would prevent the voter initiative process from being used to create monopolies.
NO: State Issue 3 would grant a monopoly for the sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal uses.
The Vindicator also recommends “yes” votes on each of these countywide issues:
A 0.3-mill , 10-year renewal levy for mental-health services in Columbiana County.
A 3-mill, five-year renewal levy for programs and services for the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
A 0.5-mill, five-year renewal levy for current expenses for the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board.
A 15-year 1.75-mill renewal and 0.25-mill additional levy for operations, improvements and maintenance of Mill Creek MetroParks.
A 2.25-mill, 10-year renewal levy for the Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
A 0-75-mill, five-year renewal levy for senior-citizen services in Trumbull County.
A 2-mill, five-year renewal levy for Trumbull County Children Services.
The only local community issue on which The Vindicator has taken a public stand this fall is the proposed charter amendment in Youngstown to create a Community Bill of Rights that would ban all hydraulic fracturing within the city limits. As we have done the four previous times this misguided issue has been on the ballot over the past two years, The Vindicator strongly urges a “no” vote.
The Vindicator also recommends voters approve all renewal levies on the ballots in these school districts: Austintown, two renewal levies; Boardman, two renewal levies; Canfield, one renewal; Salem, one renewal; Struthers; one renewal; and Youngstown, one renewal.