Turnout Light At the Polls

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Voters across local counties in Ohio didn’t keep pollworkers busy Tuesday, election officials report.

“It’s been very slow,” said Jessie Baumgardner, director of elections in Harrison County. “By noon, we had had just 668 voters vote in the whole county.”

A total of 288 absentee ballots already were received by the Board of Elections Office, making for a total of just 956 ballots cast by noon. Harrison County has 10,199 registered voters, and Baumgardner was expecting less than a 15-percent turnout by the end of Election Day.

In Harrison County, there was a contested Republican race for prosecuting attorney, and a request for a 0.25-mill additional levy to benefit the County Health District.

Jefferson County Director of Elections Diane Gribble said turnout was low at some precincts in her county, but larger voting precincts were reporting that after a slow morning the number of voters had increased by afternoon. She said it looked as though overall turnout might be better than she expected.

“It’s been a little busy – busier than we anticipated,” Gribble said. “We’re hearing a lot from the bigger precincts that voting is heavier than we thought it would be. Others were not busy. It’s been light in some areas, heavier in others.”

Jefferson County voters saw contested Democrat primary races for county auditor and common pleas court judge, as well as a host of levies.

There also were a number of issues on the ballot in Belmont County, but there were no contested races. County Director of Elections William Shubat expected a light turnout.

Shubat said during the last off-year election in 2010, there were 5,000 absentee ballots cast and a total of about 13,000 turned out to vote. This year, just 2,500 absentee ballots were submitted, and he expected overall turnout to be very low.

“We were looking for a light turnout, and that’s what we got,” he said.

In Monroe County, there were no contested races, and just one issue for an additional 0.5-percent income tax in Woodsfield.

“There has been nothing exciting – it’s a light turnout,” said County Deputy Director of Elections Mollie Landefeld. “It’s been sluggish.”