Monday, May 6, 2019
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state’s chief elections officer, stopped by The Vindicator last week to chat informally with members of this newspaper’s Editorial Board about his ongoing and planned initiatives to encourage maximum voter participation.
But judging by the dismally low projections for voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election by county boards of elections directors in the Mahoning Valley, LaRose clearly has his work cut out for him.
LaRose, a U.S. Army special forces veteran from the War in Iraq, recounted how in 2005, citizens in the war-torn nation literally risked their lives at the hands of terrorists for daring to vote in the nation’s first free national elections. Turnout nonetheless still soared above 70 percent.
Contrast that robust level of voter participation with the puny 10 percent turnout predicted for Mahoning County on Tuesday, and clearly something is amiss.
Though we encourage any and all efforts to maximize voter participation by LaRose and others, ultimately the decision to cast a ballot rests with the will of individual voters to play a responsible role in our participatory democracy.
LOCAL DECISIONS MATTER
For those who view the decisions they can make in Tuesday’s election as lackluster and uninspiring, we would beg to differ. Much is at stake at the polls for grass-roots government in cities, court districts and school districts in our region – from continuing a sales tax on most all goods and services purchased in Mahoning County to eventual freedom from the shackles of fiscal emergency for Niles City Schools.
For our part, 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.
Here then is a summary of our recommendations for Democratic Party races and issues that we explained in greater detail in editorials over the past three weeks:
YOUNGSTOWN 1st WARD COUNCIL: Julius Oliver
YOUNGSTOWN 2nd WARD: Ra’Cole Taltoan
YOUNGSTOWN 3rd WARD: Samantha Turner
YOUNGSTOWN 5th WARD: Lauren McNally
STRUTHERS MAYOR: Michael Patrick
WARREN LAW DIRECTOR: Gregory Hicks
NILES MAYOR: Steven Mientkiewicz
HUBBARD MAYOR: Benjamin A. Kyle
MAHONING COUNTY SALES TAX RENEWAL: YES
SCHOOL LEVY renewal issues in Campbell, Springfield, Liberty, Mathews, McDonald, Niles and Weathersfield districts: YES