Low voter turnout expected in Portage for Tuesday's vote

By Mike Sever | staff writer Published:

Voter turnout for Tuesday's primary election is expected to be low overall, election officials predict.

While 15 percent turnout is typical in a primary, Faith Lyon, director of the Portage County Board of Elections said they are estimating a 13 percent turnout on Tuesday.

"Some (primaries) have gone as low as 10 percent in past years," Lyon said. "This could be close to the lowest."

Lyon said absentee voting was very light for this election.

Lyon was basing her estimate of turnout on the lack of countywide issues to bring out voters.

Coming closest is Issue 1, the Portage County Health Department's 0.4-mill replacement levy. It will be on ballots in all but Kent and Ravenna, which have their own health departments.

One issue that voters in the Field School District might be surprised to see is Issue 7, a school levy which the board of education voted to withdraw from the May ballot. The decision to hold the levy came too late to remove it from the ballot, so polls in Brimfield and Suffield will have large notices reminding voters to not vote for the issue.

Lyon said the district missed a deadline to remove the issue from the ballot. To do it would have affected the whole ballot ­-- printed and electronic -- and required reprograming and retesting all the machines sent to polls in the district.

As it is, Field will end up paying some portion of the election cost because of the late decision to cover the printing of ballots, staffing the polls and any other costs. Brad Cromes, deputy director of the elections board, said the final cost wasn't established yet. As an example, Field paid $3,800 when it had an issue on the November general election ballot.

There are a handful of other local issues on the ballot. Issue 8 is an 8.9-mill ley for Kent City Schools. It is the first funding request by the district in seven years.

In Aurora, there is Issue 3, a 1.2-mill levy for police services. Voters in Windham village will decide Issue 4, a 0.5 percent income tax increase to pay for police, street maintenance and other services.

Hiram Township has Issue 5, a 2-mill, five-year replacement levy for fire protection and Paris Township has Issue 6, a 1-mill, five year additional levy for township expenses.

In city council races, Kent has a primary for three at-large council seats with four Democrats -- Michael A. DeLeone, Melissa M. Long, Roger B. Sidoti and Robin G. Turner -- competing. DeLeone and Sidoti are incumbents and Turner was an at-large councilman before he resigned Nov. 1, 2012.

Any independents who will run for the council seat go directly to the general election ballot to face the top three votegetters from Tuesday.

Ravenna has a Ward One primary race of Steven R. Bailey, a former council member, Sharon Spencer, the incumbent who beat him for re-election, and Michael LaCivita Jr. The top two will go on to the general election.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1125 or msever@recordpub.com

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