Early voting to start in Portage amid confusion over primary

With the start of early voting just days away, voters in Portage County will likely see two primary elections. And even that isn’t certain, county election officials say.

Continued:With May 3 for legislative candidates, judges weigh options for new primary date, map

Early voting is scheduled to begin Tuesday at the Portage County Board of Elections. But while Secretary of State Frank LaRose sent a letter to lawmakers about the next two primaries, he had yet to give direction to election commissions, said Portage County Board of Elections director Faith Lyon. .

“Until we get that directive, or some kind of indication, we can’t go on,” she said.

Lyon said the council had prepared ballots containing all the candidates and all the issues, except for races in the Ohio House of Representatives, Ohio Senate and Central Committee of the United States. State. The 72nd District, the proposed district that includes much of Portage County, has just two candidates from each party — Republican Gail Pavliga, the incumbent, and Democrat Kathleen Clyde, who once represented the district. However, another district that includes the northern part of the county has a contested primary and there are contested state central committee races in the county. There is no state Senate race on the ballot this year for Portage County, but there are contests for those seats in other areas.

Monday, for now, is the deadline to register to vote in the primary.

Lyon said she is concerned about a shortage of election workers, especially if the second primary takes place during the summer, when many people take vacations.

Portage County Republican and Democratic party leaders, who both sit on the Board of Elections, expressed frustration with the dual primaries.

Amanda Suffecool, chairwoman of the Portage County Republican Party, said she was “not exactly thrilled” about the prospect of splitting the primary.

She said she was worried there wouldn’t be enough staff to staff a second primary.

“It’s overkill to get people to volunteer their time,” she said. “It’s a big commitment. It’s a very big request.”

Denise Smith, interim president of the Portage County Democratic Party, said it would also be difficult to persuade voters to run a second time when they have little to decide.

“It’s confusing and chaotic,” she said. “With a second primary, what kind of turnout are you going to get?”

Lyon said primary races often see low turnout, especially when voters have little to decide. Some counties, she said, have seen turnout as low as five percent.

“You hate to see this,” she said. “You want everyone to come out and have a say.”

What’s on the ballot in Portage?

Statehouse races aside, there are plenty of races for Portage County voters to decide, including contested primaries for both parties for a county commissioner race, and a four-way Republican primary in the race. of the listener, where longtime incumbent Janet Esposito isn’t looking for another term.

In the race for commissioners, four people – two Republicans and two Democrats – hope to succeed Democrat Vicki Kline, who is not seeking re-election. Mike Tinlin, former Aurora Police Chief; and Ed Dean, a Deerfield trustee; are expected to face each other in the Republican primary. Meanwhile, Portage County NAACP President Geraldine Hayes Nelson of Kent; and Timothy Moon, an investigator with the Portage County District Attorney’s Office, are seeking the Democratic nomination.

Esposito, a Republican in office since 1994, will not seek an eighth term as auditor. On the Republican side, there are four candidates – Kristy Elliott from Deerfield, Brian Ames from Randolph, Deborah Mann from Aurora and Matt Kelly from Suffield. Democrat Brad Cromes, Treasurer of Portage County, is also running to replace her.

No primary is planned in the judicial races. However, Judge Laurie Pittman, a Democrat who sits on the Portage County Court of Common Pleas, faces a challenge from Wesley Buchanan, a Republican. Buchanan, a Kent solicitor, appeared unsuccessfully in Portage County Municipal Court last November.

In Family Relations Court, Judge Paula Giulitto, a Streetsboro Democrat, is currently running unopposed to remain on the bench.

Voters in some areas will also see issues on the ballot. They include the renewal of two levies for the Rootstown School District; renewal levies for Community EMS and the Aurora Fire Department; an increase in income tax in Mantua from 1.5% to 2%; a renewal fee for fire protection in Paris; a local liquor option in Streetsboro; an amendment to the charter on virtual meetings; and a replacement levy and tax increase for police protection in Brimfield. Portage County voters in the Springfield School District will consider a $3.9 million tax for that district, and Portage voters in Mogadore will consider a $3.5 million fire protection tax.

Since the statewide races are unaffected, voters from both parties will see primaries in the gubernatorial race and the U.S. Senate race. Republicans will see primary races for secretary of state, the 13th and 14th congressional districts and a seat on the 11th district appeals court.

The two party presidents say they are confident in their candidates, who are continuing their campaign despite the turmoil.

Smith said there were two strong candidates for the commissioner’s race and expressed confidence in Clyde’s chances in the November Statehouse race.

“Kathleen is a great candidate,” she said. “She is the perfect candidate for this position.”

Suffecool said more people are becoming active in the Republican Party in Portage County, which means more people are seeking election. She said Esposito had long been known as a strong vote-giver in the party and for that reason people were hesitant to challenge her.

“With her not running, that opens the door for other candidates running for the listeners who are Republicans in the county,” she said. And the race for commissioner, she said, also has two strong candidates on the Republican side.

“You can’t be wrong no matter who you vote for,” she said.

Voting plans

Early voting takes place at the Board of Elections office, 449 S. Meridian St., Ravenna, Ohio. Early voting, for now, begins Tuesday and will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until April 22, then from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. from April 25 to April 29; from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday April 30 and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday May 1; and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, May 2.

“For now, that’s the plan,” Lyon said.

For the most up-to-date election information, visit the Board of Elections website or call 330-297-3511.

Journalist Diane Smith can be reached at [email protected] or 330-298-1139.

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