Once again, a presidential election year brings a slew of part-time voters out of the woodwork and into the ballot booth. In the Mahoning Valley alone, elections officials are projecting that about 181,000 residents will have cast ballots by the time polls close at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
At first blush, that high figure sounds downright encouraging, but when considering that the Valley boasts about 362,000 total eligible voters, it means only about 50 percent of the electorate in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties plan to exercise their democratic right and have their say in races ranging from county recorder to president of the United States.
We hope, however, that the Valley electorate surprises us with much higher percentages in this critical primary election. We also hope all who exercise that right do so responsibly by thoroughly weighing the qualifications of candidates and the needs of those seeking tax dollars for government and school services.
To be sure, much is at stake, particularly in the highly contested and hotly controversial races for the Republican and Democratic nominations for president of the United States. Over the past few days, four of the six major candidates – Hillary Clinton, John Kasich, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders – have visited the Greater Youngstown area. That’s a clear sign that they recognize this region’s impact and importance on final state outcomes.
Voters also will be registering their choices in the contentious Democrat primary for U.S. Senate between Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, as well as nominating candidates for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Closer to home, voters will decide the outcomes for a range of local offices, from county government officials to Ohio House and Senate nominees.
Voters in Mahoning and Trumbull counties face five renewal school levies plus various community levies to support township services. All Mahoning County voters will be asked to approve a 1-mill levy to provide more and better programs for the county’s fastest-growing demographic group, those 60 and older.
Thus, we urge residents of the Mahoning Valley to responsibly cast ballots in Tuesday’s general election. As usual, polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in precincts throughout the state. Early voting at county boards of election will end at 2 p.m. today.
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 that we explained in greater detail in separate editorials in this space over the past three weeks:
U.S. Senate, Democrat: Ted Strickland.
U.S. House of Representatives, 13th District, Democrat: Tim Ryan.
Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Republican: Pat Fischer.
59th District of the Ohio House of Representatives, Republican: Don Manning.
Mahoning County recorder, Democrat: Noralynn Palermo.
32nd District of the Ohio Senate, Democrat: Sean O’Brien.
63rd District of the Ohio House of Representatives, Democrat: Glenn Holmes.
64th District of the Ohio House of Representatives, Republican: Martha Yoder.
Trumbull County commissioner, Democrat: Daniel E. Polivka.
Trumbull County recorder, Democrat: Tod Latell.
Trumbull County sheriff, Democrat: Paul Monroe.
Mahoning County 1-mill, five-year additional levy for senior services: YES.
Niles 0.5-percent additional income tax for police and fire operations: YES.
Howland schools’ 1-mill continuous renewal levy: YES.
Hubbard schools’ 5.8-mill, five-year renewal levy: YES.
Liberty schools’ 3.4-mill, five-year renewal levy: YES.
Mathews schools’ 4.55-mill, five-year renewal levy: YES.
Poland schools’ 3.6-mill, five-year renewal levy: YES.