Early voting results in Hamilton County show higher than usual numbers of people casting ballots.
Ava Whitson, 21, was among those who voted early with the Hamilton County Electoral Board in Norwood. Their big problem: Supporting Issue 3, the controversial proposed amendment to the Charter that would require Cincinnati to spend $ 50 million a year on affordable housing.
“I just believe that everyone deserves affordable housing no matter what,” Clifton’s Whitson said when he went to the polls. “There are a lot of housing differences in Cincinnati. I just think it’s super important. I think everyone should be out here.”
As mayor, she was undecided about going to the polling station in Norwood. It was between Gavi Begtrup, who supported Issue 3, and Aftab Pureval for them.
In Cincinnati’s mayor primaries, voters are reducing the mayor field to two candidates who will move to general.
In the last primary election in 2017, only 11% of Cincinnati voters attended. In 2013 only 5%.
Based on the number of early voters, turnout could be anywhere from 15% to 20% on May 4, said Sherry Poland, executive director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.
Voters said The Enquirer’s protests last year against Police Conduct and Racial Justice, Issue 3, and corruption scandals had increased interest.
A 20% turnout would be the record for a mayor’s elementary school in Cincinnati in 2005. This was the second mayoral election since the city was elected a strong mayoral form of government in 2001. Previously, the mayor was the top voter among the council candidates.
In 2005, David Pepper and Mark Mallory competed in a bustling elementary school with seven candidates. Pepper ousted Mallory with 146 votes as the best voter in the primary. Mallory went on to win the general election.
This year six people are running for mayor in a year in which corruption scandals rocked the town hall. In addition to the crowded field and Issue 3, the Hamilton County Board of Elections location is also more central and has more parking since moving from downtown to a mall in Norwood in 2017.
“It is most likely a combination of all three,” said Poland.