Butler County voters in 2019 will vote on dozens of races to determine who makes decisions that affect their lives in the years ahead.
Some races will be more competitive than others. The Middletown and Hamilton municipal court judge races, for example, could have a contested primary in May, according to the Butler County Board of Elections. Fairfield will also have a municipal judge election, but its rules do not require a primary.
Other races include Butler County’s 13 townships, each of which will have one trustee and its fiscal officer up for election, 10 villages and cities, 10 school districts and the Butler County Educational Services Center.
Local issues on the November ballot won’t be known until later this year, but there will be one ballot issue on the May 7 ballot. Pending certification by the Butler County Board of Elections, the city of Hamilton will ask voters to approve a 10-year, 4.9-mill street repair levy. The proposed levy would generate nearly $3.9 million per year to allow the city to repair an additional 5 miles of roads while maintaining another five miles. The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home around $171.50 a year.
To vote in the May election, residents must register by April 8. To vote in the November election, residents must register by Oct. 7.
Turnout for these elections is heavily determined by what state issues are included. In 2017, just 25.3 percent of those registered voted, as the state issues included the Marsy’s Law crime victims initiative, which had no opposition, and the the prescription drug price issue that confused many voters.
The marijuana legalization issue drove turnout to 40.6 percent in 2015, when three statewide issues were on the ballot. More than 92,000 Butler County voters cast their ballots in that issue, and nearly that amount voted in the other two issues — one for creating a redistricting commission and one for prohibiting initiatives that create market monopolies. The marijuana initiative was the only one to fail.
Even more Butler County voters turned out to vote in 2011 when more than 100,000 cast ballots in the three statewide issues, led by the repeal of Senate Bill 5 that limited collective bargaining for public employees. The other two 2011 statewide issues addressed exempting Ohio residents from national health care mandates and raising the maximum age for judges. The health care exemption was the only one to pass statewide.