When absentee voting for the March 15 primary election begins Wednesday, ballots will be cast on two Delaware County issues and two school levies, as well as for a presidential candidate.
Today is the deadline to register to vote in the primary.
Voters in all 152 of Delaware County’s precincts will decide on two issues — a lodging excise tax, and a county Board of Developmental Disabilities renewal tax levy. Both issues were approved to go on the ballot by Delaware County commissioners.
The bed tax is 3 percent for five years for permanent improvements to the county fairgrounds. Some have said the tax is necessary to keep the Little Brown Jug in Delaware.
A provision in last year’s state budget allows counties where harness racing draws more than 40,000 spectators annually to collect an additional 3 percent bed tax. Delaware County is the only county fair of 65 in the state that would qualify, impacting five hotels and motels. The fair had revenues of $4.6 million and expenses of $4.4 million in 2014; and the tax, if approved by voters, is expected to raise $190,000 annually.
A 2.1-mill, five-year tax levy, if approved, will be used for the county Board of Developmental Disabilities’ operating expenses, construction, renovation and maintenance. It would raise $13.4 million annually, representing two-thirds of the county agency’s annual budget. According to the board, the levy’s cost is $61.87 per $100,000 of home valuation.
The Delaware City School District has a substitute levy for an existing emergency tax levy on the ballot in 29 precincts. The 8.44-mill levy is for necessary requirements for a continuing period of time. The district has said home owners would continue to pay about $260 per $100,000 home valuation. The levy would bring in $6 million per year.
The Olentangy Local School District has a bond issue and two additional tax levies on the ballot in 71 precincts. The 1.3-mill, 35-year bond is for construction of a new high school; a 1.0-mill permanent levy is for improvements for a continuing period of time; and a 5.9-mill operating levy is for current expenses for a continuing period of time. The district said the issue will cost an additional $241.50 a year per $100,000 of home valuation. The district’s website said, “In the event of a levy failure, all programs not considered state mandates are potential targets for cuts.”
The crowded Republican presidential field was narrowed to 11 candidates 45 days before the election, and although the field has dwindled since then, these are the names that will appear on the ballot: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Donald J. Trump. On the Democratic side, there’s Hillary Clinton, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, and Bernie Sanders. To pick a presidential candidate in the primary, you have to declare a party affiliation and only vote on that party’s candidates. If you do not pick a party, you can only vote on the issues.
In the U.S. Senate, Republican incumbent Rob Portman will face a challenge from Don Elijah Eckhart. Vying to be the Democratic challenger in November are Kelli Prather, P.G. Sittenfield and former Gov. Ted Strickland. The Green Party’s candidate is Joseph R. DeMare. In the U.S. House of Representatives, 12th Congressional District incumbent Pat Tiberi (Republican) is unopposed, as are Democrat Ed Albertson and the Green Party’s Joe Manchik.
In the Ohio General Assembly, two candidates are unopposed for their respective parties in the primary for state representative in the 67th District — incumbent Republican Andrew O. Brenner, and his November opponent, Democrat Janet Breneman. Voters in the western portion of the county, or 100 precincts, are represented in the 67th House District.
In the 68th District, John Russell is unopposed as a Democrat, but five Republicans are squaring off in the primary: W. Myles Bancroft, Rick Carfagna, Beth Lear, Patrick J. Quinn and Jason Rogers. Incumbent Margaret Ann Ruhl (Republican) will vacate her seat due to term limits. The 68th District constitutes the eastern half of Delaware County (52 precincts) and all of Knox County.
There are several candidates, all Republicans, who are running unopposed for county administrative offices: County Commissioners Jeff Benton and Gary Merrell; Prosecutor Carol O’Brien; Natalie Fravel for Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas (to replace incumbent Jan Antonoplos); Sheriff Russell L. Martin; County Recorder Melissa Jordan; County Treasurer Jon Peterson; County Engineer Chris Bauserman; and Coroner Mark Hickman.
There are nine liquor options on the ballot for residents of Berkshire Township; Delaware (Sunday sales at 12 West); Orange Township (Taranto’s Pizza in Lewis Center); Powell (Sunday sales at CVS Pharmacy); and Westerville (Local Market on Sunbury Road, and Minicos on County Line Road).
Three seats for six-year terms on the Ohio Supreme Court are on the ballot. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor (Republican) is running unopposed. Justices Paul Pfeifer and Judith Ann Lanzinger (both Republicans) have reached mandatory retirement age and are ineligible for re-election. Lanzinger’s seat will be contested by Republican judges Pat Fischer (First District Court of Appeals) and Colleen O’Toole (11th District Court of Appeals), while Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell represents Democrats. Representing their respective parties for Pfeifer’s seat are First District Court of Appeals Judge Pat DeWine (Republican) and 11th District Court of Appeals Judge Cynthia Rice. According to BallotPedia, Republican justices hold a 6-1 majority on the court.
For the justice on the 5th District Ohio Court of Appeals, three names will appear on the ballot — Earle E. Wise (Democrat), and Republicans David Gormley and Craig Baldwin. Republicans Randall D. Fuller and Christopher J. Geer will vie for judge of Delaware County Common Pleas Court’s new domestic relations division.
The Ohio Republican Party will have Fred L. Dailey and Craig Schweitzer competing for the 19th District’s male representative on the State Central Committee, while Teri Morgan will be unopposed as the 19th District’s female representative. The party’s central committee has 66 elected members, one female and one male, from 33 districts. The Republicans’ 19th District is Delaware and Knox counties.
The Green Party has Constance A. Gadell-Newton and Tekla Taylor-Lagway on the ballot for the 6th District State Central Committee.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.