May contentious, high-profile Cincinnati primaries enhance voter turnout?


NORWOOD, Ohio – Off-year elections typically have a low turnout, and primary elections – like the Ohio primary on Tuesday – can often have even lower numbers. But a high-profile mayors’ race and controversial election campaign in Cincinnati could buck that trend.

For Cincinnati voter Carolyn Jones, Issue 3 ballots and Cincinnati Mayor Elementary School were enough to get her going. Six candidates are fighting for two spots in the November general mayoral election, and Issue 3 would change the city’s charter to require at least $ 50 million in local funding for affordable housing projects.

Both races take place after a turbulent year that was marked by scandals in the town hall.

“That was a very big deal for me,” Jones told WCPO. “Definitely the mayor. I’ve seen all of these people in action. I like a little about each of them, but you have to think about who will serve your interests.”

ISSUE 3: Pros and cons of changing the Affordable Housing Charter
MAYOR RACE: Meet the 6 candidates for Cincinnati’s top job

The same was true for Nicole Baah, who said, “The mayor’s race was really interesting … knowing that the mayor is so influencing and really trying to get into it.”

According to Sherry Poland, director of the Hamilton Board of Elections, voter turnout, both in person and by mail, was higher than the last Mayor’s primary race in Cincinnati in 2017. As of Sunday evening, 3,185 people voted in person across the county and in the city of Cincinnati had 5,072 people Postal ballot returned.

“I think we will be higher than the last in 2017,” said Poland. “The highest turnout on a Cincinnati area code was 20%, and there’s a chance we can get there.”

The record year was the mayor year 2005, in which around 44,000 people voted. Around 24,000 voters cast ballots in 2017, and in the previous cycle, 2013, half of those were found.

On Monday, Poland said it was too early to say how voter turnout will develop this year compared to previous years.

“It’s really premature because a majority of the voters in Hamilton County are voting on election day. I think this is where our biggest numbers will come from,” she said.

For Jones, the local elementary school is worth the effort outside of the year to cast her vote.

“The idea that if you want to be part of the action and part of our government we have to start with the basics, and these are the basics,” she said.

Voting day for Ohio Elementary School begins Tuesday at 6:30 am. The polls will stay open until 7:30 p.m.