Light turnout expected for the May 2 primary
By David Skolnick
With early voting starting Tuesday, Mahoning Valley election officials expect light turnout for the May 2 primary.
The strongest turnout is expected in Mahoning County with about 35 percent to 40 percent of eligible voters predicted by Joyce Kale-Pesta, board of elections director, to cast ballots primarily because of contested races in Youngstown and for Struthers Municipal Court judge.
But election board officials in Trumbull and Columbiana counties say turnout there should be about 15 percent among eligible voters.
“There’s not many hot-button issues and unfortunately, people think that voting for local races and issues isn’t important,” said Stephanie Penrose, Trumbull County Board of Elections director. “People focus on voting for president, but the local races affect your day-to-day life a lot more with tax levies and local people representing you.”
In Mahoning County, 87 of its 212 voting precincts will be open for the primary. There are citywide Democratic primaries in Youngstown and Struthers as well as the Struthers Municipal Court judicial race – which includes that city, Poland, Lowellville, New Middletown, and Springfield Township – and two tax issues in the Poland school district.
That means voters in most of the county’s suburbs and rural areas won’t cast ballots in the primary.
In Trumbull County, voters in 86 of its 158 precincts will be able to vote. Of note are Democratic primaries in the city of Warren and the Niles Municipal Court jurisdiction, which includes that city, McDonald and Weathersfield.
There are no Republican primaries in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
There are no primary races – Republican or Democrat – at all in Columbiana County.
Voters in only 17 of Columbiana County’s 87 precincts can cast ballots for issues.
Meanwhile, county election boards with candidates on the primary ballot will be open until 9 p.m. Monday, the last day to register for that election.
Valley election officials don’t expect more than a few people to register Monday.
State law requires the boards to stay open until that time on the final day to register.
The Mahoning County Board of Elections is in Oakhill Renaissance Place, 345 Oak Hill Ave. in Youngstown.
Trumbull’s board is at 2947 Youngstown Road SE in Warren, and Columbiana County’s board office, which won’t be open late Monday, is at 7989 Dickey Drive in Lisbon.
Mahoning’s board office is normally open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. In Trumbull, the office is normally open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
To register in person, you need either your driver’s license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number on the written application.
Early voting starts Tuesday with boards able to start processing absentee votes by mail that day. Military and overseas voting are already underway.
Early voting at the board offices is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, from April 10 to 14 and from April 17 to 21. In-person voting hours from April 24 to 28 is 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
On April 29, the Saturday before the primary, in-person voting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on April 30, the Sunday before the primary, hours run from 1 to 5 p.m.
The final day for early in-person voting is May 1 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. May 2, the day of the primary.