DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The November election is four weeks away, and election officials expect a large turnout in the coming weeks with statewide ballot issues on reproductive rights and recreational marijuana on the ballot.
Secretary Frank LaRose urges everyone to do their research so they can be well informed when they go vote.
He also says voting absentee could be a good option due to the variety of issues on the ballot this time around. Absentee voting allows people to research candidates and bills as they move down the ballot without the pressure of being in person.
Despite that suggestion, local election officials say they are anticipating an increase in voter turnout because of Issues 1 and 2.
LaRose, who is running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate race next year, has publicly come out against Issue 1, which would enshrine reproductive rights in the constitution.
He also says a major concern for Issue 2 on recreational marijuana is policing, and how officers will be able to accurately detect when an individual is driving under the influence.
However, he commends Ohio legislators for how they chose to put Issue 2 on the ballot.
“The proponents of Issue 2 did, though, is they made it an initiated statute, not a constitutional amendment. All that means is that it’s changing the state law, not the constitution,” LaRose said. “And so what that means is that over time, as we learn things, maybe different ways that things should be done, it would give the state legislature the ability to update things and make them better if Issue 2 were to pass.”
Montgomery County Board of Elections Director Jeff Rezabek says that for a typical election like this, they expect about a 20-30% voter turnout. But this year, they are anticipating the election will be similar to the special election held in August.
“The Issue 1 that was on this past August and getting 38%. You saw that the voters saw that it was necessary to come out and voice their opinion one way or the other,” Rezabek said.
Experts say multiple races for local offices and Issues 1 and 2 are resonating heavily with voters.
“So, with those 50 issues and as you said, Issue 1 and Issue 2, which are driving it. I do anticipate to have a 50-60% turnout, which is a larger turnout than normal.”
Greene County is also already seeing an increase in absentee ballot requests. Officials say the county is fully staffed with polling workers in preparation for the election.
“We are expecting that Issues 1 and 2 are going to drive up the number of people that do come in and and use our early voting center,” Alisha Lampert, Director of Greene County Board of Elections, said.
Miami County officials say because of this anticipation for a high voter turnout, they will be using their own early vote center, something that they have not done in the past. But this election is a special case.
“Those are the kind of issues that really do draw a lot of people in and whether they feel positively or negatively about it, they’re going to come out and vote. So we do expect to have a high turnout. We are gearing up for a lot of voters.” Laura Bruns, Director of Miami County Board of Elections, said.
The November election is one month from today, and there’s still time to register to vote– the deadline is 9 p.m. tonight, Oct. 10. Then, early in-person voting begins Wednesday, Oct. 11
Remember, you must have a valid state-issued I.D., military I.D. or passport in order to vote. To find more information on where and how to vote, visit Ohio’s election website.