December 22, 2014

Elyria
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Voter turnout well below expectations

Residents vote Tuesday at Cross Community Church just before the polls closed. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

Residents vote Tuesday at Cross Community Church just before the polls closed. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

SHEFFIELD TWP. — Voter turnout in Lorain County was far lower than elections officials expected.

CountyBoard of Elections Director Paul Adams said only 57,958 of the county’s 202,286 registered voters cast ballots, according to unofficial returns.

That’s a turnout rate of 28.7 percent.

“I’m very surprised it’s that low,” Adams, who had predicted turnout of around 37 percent, said.

Although off-year elections tend to have lower turnout than presidential or even gubernatorial elections, this year’s turnout was down from even previous odd-year elections.

In 2009, turnout was about 43 percent. In 2011, it was 47 percent, something elections officials have attributed to mayoral races in the county’s two most populous cities, Lorain and Elyria.

There were only two countywide issues on this year’s ballot, a levy for LorainCountyCommunity College, which appears to have narrowly passed, and a sales tax hike that voters resoundingly rejected.

“The two countywide issues just weren’t enough to bring out large voter turnout,” Adams said, adding that city, township and schools races also didn’t appear to draw out voters.

Beyond the low turnout, Adams said he wasn’t aware of any significant problems Election Day.

“Really, it was very uneventful,” he said.

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