Because the May 7, 2019 Primary will be a “Republican Primary and limited issues-only election,” officials at the Delaware County Board of Elections worry that Democratic voters will claim they are being denied their right to vote.
Delaware County Board of Elections Director Karla Herron said “it’s very complicated” since there is no Democratic Primary this May.
The only Democratic candidate running in May is Emma Jones for Clerk of Municipal Courts Delaware County. Since she is running unopposed she is considered the presumptive Democratic nominee for the November General Election.
“Once voters get up there and if they (claim the Democratic Party), poll workers would tell them they don’t have anything (on the ballot),” she said. “We have to be sure we’re not encouraging a Republican ballot because they could say they had to take a Republican ballot or the poll worker made them take it.”
Deputy Director Anthony Saadey said if Democratic voters want to vote for the sake of voting and accept a Republican ballot they would actually be changing their party affiliation from Democratic to Republican.
“That’s an important point,” said Peg Watkins, board member and Delaware County Democratic Party chair. “Some people might think this is the only opportunity to vote and take it not realizing the consequences.”
To add to the complication of the May Primary, Herron said voters in the Delaware City School District, the Village of Ashley, Delaware Township, Brown Township, Troy Township, Orange Township (precinct 114-G only), Northridge Local School District and the City of Columbus will have issues on the ballot.
“There are more precincts that do not have issues on the ballots than do,” she said. “Most ballots only have the three (Republican) races on them.”
Herron said in those precincts there will be “issue-only ballots” for voters who do not vote Republican. She said in all other precincts with only the three Republican races on the ballot, there is nothing for non-Republican voters to decide on.
The three May Republican Primary races include incumbent Cindy Dinovo (R) and Kris Jordan (R), for Clerk of Municipal Courts Delaware County.
Jordan was elected as representative of the 67th District Ohio House of Representatives in November but has decided to run in the May Primary against Dinovo.
Melissa K. Riggins (R) faces Kyle E. Rohrer (R) for Delaware Municipal Court-1 judge and running unopposed is Municipal Court Judge Marianne T. Hemmeter (R), who is seeking re-election for her seat on the bench.
Other important dates for the May 7 Election include:
Monday, April 8 — Voter Registration Deadline (Monday at 9 p.m.)
Tuesday, April 9 — Vote Center opens and the first absentee non-UOCAVA ballots are mailed out to voters.
Saturday, May 4 — The last valid absentee ballots are mailed out (noon)
Monday, May 6 — The last day that the absentee Vote Center is open (Closes at 2 p.m.) and mail-in absentee ballots must be postmarked by this date to be counted.
Tuesday, May 7 — Primary Election (Polls are open 6:30 a.m.—7:30 p.m.) and all absentee ballots walked into the Board of Elections must be received by 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 17 — Absentee ballots must be postmarked by May 6th and be received and UOCAVA ballots, with or without any postmark, must be received by this date.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.