Check out The Chronicle’s website tonight for results directly from the Lorain County Board of Elections and read complete results and stories on the winners and losers in Wednesday’s Chronicle.
SHEFFIELD TWP. — Today’s elections are as local as they can get with voters picking new mayors in Avon and Vermilion, as well as deciding the outcomes of crowded races for city councils, township boards of trustees and school boards.
And while there are issues on the ballot ranging from school levies to local liquor options, there are only two issues that voters across Lorain County will decide.
The county commissioners have asked voters to approve a 0.5 percent sales tax increase that is coupled with rolling back 1.4 mills worth of property taxes. If approved, the increase, which would be in place for three years, would bring in roughly $8.3 million per year for county government operations and capital improvements.
The other big issue is a 1.5-mill renewal levy with a 0.6-mill increase that will go toward funding Lorain County Community College’s University Partnership with new faculty, programs and technology. That levy will generate about $12 million annually for the 10 years it would be in effect.
Despite the length of the ballot, county Board of Elections officials are not expecting a high turnout because of the off-year nature of today’s election.
Elections board Director Paul Adams predicted a turnout of 37 percent, while Deputy Director Jim Kramer said he thinks it will come in lower at about 35 percent.
Kramer said two years ago during the last off-year election, turnout was 47 percent, but that was higher because of mayoral races in Elyria and Lorain. In 2009, turnout was 43 percent, but that was driven higher by state issues, including gambling, that were on the ballot, he said.
Adams said he thinks the turnout will be highest in Avon where four candidates, Bryan Jensen, Rich Summers, Kevin Ward and Dan Zegarac, are vying to replace retiring Mayor Jim Smith.
As of Monday, 10,942 of the county’s roughly 213,000 registered voters had cast ballots early, either through the mail or at the election board’s offices.
Adams also said that this election will see the elections board implement a new way for managing the flow of voters at polling places around the county.
Rather than seek out their individual precincts when they arrive, Adams said voters will get in line alphabetically and be directed to the proper table where their electronic voting card will be encoded. He said the changes were tested during the primary election and worked well.
“The new system has been done to streamline the process,” Adams said.
County voters also may see federal observers at the polls today as part of an agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Justice that centered on the county’s efforts to ensure access for Spanish-speaking voters.