Primary turnout expected to be no more than 25 percent in Valley
By David Skolnick
Turnout for the 2018 primary is expected to be better in the Mahoning Valley than it was during the last gubernatorial primary election but still isn’t expected to be more than 25 percent.
“The governor’s race alone should be bringing people out, but there doesn’t seem to be much interest in it,” said Stephanie Penrose, Trumbull County Board of Elections director. “The local races are driving turnout more than the state races.”
Thomas McCabe, Mahoning County Board of Elections deputy director, said: “It’s going to be a quiet election day with low voter turnout. There are a lot of important races and issues out there, but people aren’t voting. Those contested races on the ballot are not attracting a lot of interest.”
Turnout in Mahoning County is expected to be 22 percent to 25 percent, McCabe said.
It was 22 percent in 2014, the last gubernatorial primary election.
Penrose predicts turnout in Trumbull to be between 23 percent and 25 percent. It was 20 percent in 2014.
Turnout in Columbiana County is expected to be 24 percent to 25 percent for the primary, said elections director Adam Booth.
It may not sound like much, but it’s a significant improvement from the 15-percent turnout in the 2014 primary.
“In 2014, everyone statewide [on the Republican side] was an incumbent and I don’t think the 2014 Democratic candidates energized their base,” Booth said. “Now you’ve got new blood, new people running for office even though most aren’t contested [in the partisan primaries]. In general, we’re seeing more activity this primary than in 2014.”
The Republican primary for the Columbiana County Common Pleas Court judicial race between incumbent C. Ashley Pike and challenger Megan L. Bickerton is attracting some interest among voters in that county, Booth said.
Though there are contested primaries on the Mahoning County ballot, McCabe said, “We’ve only seen pretty steady early voting in Boardman.”
Voters in Boardman have two tax measures to consider: a 5.8-mill, 10-year additional school levy to raise $4.9 million annually, and a 2.9-mill, 5-year replacement and decreased township levy to raise $2,690,861 a year.
In Trumbull County, voters are coming out for the Democratic primary for county commissioner between incumbent Frank Fuda and challenger Lisha Pompili Baumiller as well as for additional school levies in Howland and Niles, Penrose said.
The Howland levy is for 5.9 mills and 10 years to raise $3,278,754 annually while the Niles issue is a 5.85-mill, 10-year levy to raise $1.3 million a year.
Early voting continues from 1 to 5 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. Polls in Ohio are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.