December 18, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
29°F
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Election Day: Handful of candidates, school levies, issues dot the ballots

SHEFFIELD TWP. — Voters head to the polls today for a primary election that will decide which partisan candidates make it to the general election in the fall and whether they want to approve a string of levies.

Lorain County Board of Elections Director Paul Adams said he expects turnout to be light today, as it typically is in off-year election without a presidential or gubernatorial race on the ballot.

He predicted about 20 percent of the county’s 213,085 registered voters will cast a ballot. Jim Kramer, Adams’ deputy director, said he thinks turnout will be even lower, around 18 percent.

So far, 3,743 voters have cast absentee ballots either by mail or by stopping in at the elections board offices.

Adams said the most comparable year to this year’s primary was in 2005, when there was turnout of 26.1 percent, but that was likely pushed higher by Republican primaries in Lorain, something that isn’t happening this year.

But Adams also said that he thinks voter turnout will be higher in school districts seeking additional funding, particularly Avon Lake Schools, which is  seeking an additional 8.28 mills, and Black River Schools, which wants to tack on 8.7 mills to the property tax bills of residents.

Columbia Schools also is seeking an additional 5.5 mills. Amherst and North Ridgeville school districts are both seeking renewals of existing levies.

Adams said property taxes tend to bring out voters, even in off-year elections. For instance, voter turnout was roughly 43 percent in a special election for Midview Schools earlier this year.

There are also county-wide taxes that will be on the ballot seeking additional funds for the Lorain County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Lorain County Transit and the Lorain County Drug Task Force.

Adams said the most significant problem he anticipates today would be from confusion over where voters cast their ballots. Voting precincts in Elyria, Lorain, North Ridgeville and Sheffield Lake have been modified this year to account for populations shifts and redrawn ward maps.

Although a card was sent to affected voters earlier in the year, those who are unclear where they’re supposed to vote can check the elections board website at www.loraincountyelections.com to find their polling location.

Adams and Kramer said another difference will be found by voters heading to vote at the American Legion in Avon Lake, East Recreation Center in Elyria, Sacred Heart Church in Lorain and the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in North Ridgeville. Those voters will find themselves testing a new method for managing polling locations.

Voters at those locations will no longer check in by precinct, but rather by last name and then be directed to another table to get a card to use at electronic voting machines.

Adams said the change is designed to speed up sometimes long lines and create a clear chain of command and voting locations. He said Delaware and Franklin counties have had a great deal of success with the program.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.