Expected low turnout means each vote has impact in Tuesday’s election

Many tax levies for schools, cities and townships are on the ballot, plus candidate races in Dayton, Troy and Miamisburg area

A Dayton City Commission runoff race, several large school tax levies, plus police, fire and road levies for local cities and townships will highlight Tuesday’s election.

While voters in Huber Heights, Beavercreek, Miami Twp., Troy and other communities will have an important Election Day, with multiple issues on the ballot, there are some voters who have no election at all. Voters in Kettering, Oakwood, Harrison Twp., Springboro, Tipp City and Moraine can stay home, as they have nothing on the ballot.

Polling locations across the Dayton area will open at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and will close at 7:30 p.m.

Low turnout expected

Odd-year May elections usually have poor voter turnout to begin with, given the lack of state or national races, but a cold, damp forecast could push voter turnout even lower Tuesday.

As of Monday morning, roughly one-third of the 2,199 absentee ballots sent out to Montgomery County voters had not been turned in, Montgomery County Board of Elections Director Jeff Rezabek said during a board meeting in Dayton on Monday.

That’s less than what the county saw in May 2021, both for absentee ballot requests and early voters (1,053 in-person early voters as of Sunday evening), Rezabek said on Monday.

Rezabek said that voter turnout — likely less than 10% countywide, but he’s hoping for turnout in the double digits — will be impacted in part by large areas in the county lacking local items on the ballot.



Dayton YWCA advocacy manager Barbara Ward, who works on election issues, expressed sadness over extremely local races seeing fewer voters cast ballots, as she said local races often impact a person’s daily life.

“This is our opportunity to show what is important to us through the power of our vote,” she said.

The push of voters at polling locations on Tuesday will come primarily from those wanting to lend their voice to the Dayton city commission race and “pocketbook issues” like tax levies, Rezabek said.

In the last two Dayton City Commission runoff races that did not also include a mayor race, turnout was only 5% of registered voters. May 2019 was 5.1% turnout, and May 2015 was 5.6%, according to Board of Elections records. The May primary in 2021, which featured both Dayton’s mayoral and commission races, had a turnout of 9.8%

School levies highlight ballots

Nine Miami Valley school districts have tax levies on the ballot — Northmont, Vandalia-Butler, Huber Heights, Mad River, Beavercreek, Fairborn, Xenia, Franklin and Carlisle. A few of them are bigger tax-increase requests than the core Dayton area has seen in a decade, including a 1% earned income tax proposed for Vandalia-Butler, and a five-year, 8.12-mill property tax levy for Huber Heights.

Turnout for May tax levy votes has been more varied than Dayton City Commission races, but still generally low.

In the May 2021 and 2019 elections,Trotwood, Harrison Twp. and Washington Twp. had voter turnout for tax levies between 3.8% and 9.9%.

School levies sometimes see a higher turnout locally. In May 2019, voter turnout for the Oakwood schools’ bond and new tax levy reached 35.7%. Back in 2017 and also in 2019, voters in the Valley View school district posted higher than 40% turnout both years (46.6% and 41.8%) for a pair of tax levies and construction bonds that were rejected.

Weather will be a “primary” factor contributing to voters not casting a ballot in person on Tuesday, Rezabek said, as the National Weather Service predicts a chance of rain showers and temperatures in the high 40s for Tuesday.

Rezabek said election officials had no trouble finding pollworkers for the primary election, and no issues with polling locations, voting machines and other technology had been reported as of Monday.

New voting laws

Rezabek said that Montgomery County’s elections board utilized social media and their website to communicate changes in voter ID requirements after a new Ohio law became active.

The new law requires that people voting in-person in Ohio show a state-approved photo ID before casting their ballots. Rezabek said even before this law passed, roughly 98% of Montgomery County voters use a driver’s license or state ID card to cast their ballots.

Ward said Dayton YWCA has been helping the women it serves, many of whom are escaping domestic violence, be informed about what will appear on the ballot and connecting them to other resources, like the Ohio Secretary of State’s Safe at Home program.

The Safe at Home program is an address confidentiality program where survivors of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, rape or sexual battery can be assigned a substitute address to use in order to vote.

“Every decision made at local elections directly impacts the women and children we serve,” Ward said.

Early in-person voting ended on Sunday. Absentee ballots sent by mail would have needed to be postmarked by Monday, but absentee voters can deliver their ballot to the Montgomery County Board of Elections office or drop their ballot in the county drop-off box before 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Election Day

Polls open: From 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Before you vote: Study our coverage of all the candidates and issues, all in one place, at DaytonDailyNews.com/elections, or by reading the election section of our ePaper (use the QR code here).

Results tonight: Visit DaytonDailyNews.com after 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to follow live updates of election results.