Primary Election Day is quickly approaching on Tuesday, May 8.
Regardless of your political views, here are the top 10 reasons to make sure you do your civic duty and get out and vote:
All 16 Congressional seats are up for election. All but one of these districts has a contested primary.
One seat in the U.S. Senate is up for election this year. While there is no Democratic primary, there are five Republican candidates trying to win a spot in the November election.
All 99 House seats are up for election in 2018, more than half of which have a contested primary.
17 of 33 seats are up for election in the Ohio Senate, 11 of which have a contested primary.
There are 479 local issues across 83 counties to be voted on in this Primary Election.
All 12 districts of the Ohio Court of Appeals as well as most courts of common pleas and county courts are up for election this year – some of which have primaries.
There is a gubernatorial primary election for both Democrats and Republicans. This is a critical race for IAs, as the next governor will choose the next director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. There is also a Republican primary for Treasurer of State.
Don’t like how your current congressional district is drawn? Issue 1 gives you an opportunity to change the current process.
Because you care about your local community, your state and the IA profession.
Because we live in the USA and you can!
Need more convincing?
Every vote counts. According to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, 16 local races and four local issues were decided by one vote or through breaking a tie in the 2014 Primary Election.
The scoop on statewide Issue 1
This is a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that is appearing on the May ballot as a result of a Joint Resolution of the Ohio General Assembly.
This amendment seeks to scrap the current system of how state lawmakers draw the lines for congressional districts and replace this with a bipartisan, public process for drawing congressional districts.
The proposed amendment would:
End the partisan process for drawing congressional districts and replace it with a process that promotes bipartisanship, keeps local communities together, and has district boundaries that are more compact.
Ensure a transparent process that requires public hearings and allows public submission of proposed plans.
Require the General Assembly or the Ohio Redistricting Commission to obtain a bipartisan vote before adopting new congressional districts for the full 10-year period.
Require that if a plan is adopted by the General Assembly without significant bipartisan support, it cannot be effective for the entire 10-year period and must comply with explicit anti-gerrymandering requirements.
Specifically, Issue 1 seeks to amend the version of Section 1 of Article XI that is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2021, and to enact Sections 1, 2, and 3 of Article XIX of the Constitution of the State of Ohio to establish a process for congressional redistricting.
A “yes” vote will approve the measure.
Who supports Issue 1: This initiative has wide bipartisan support from many groups including the Ohio Democratic and Republican parties, the League of Women Voters, the AFL-CIO, Ohio Chamber of Commerce and many newspaper editorial boards.
Who opposes Issue 1: There is no organized campaign against Issue 1, but the American Civil Liberties Union neither supports nor opposes the issue.
The Ohio Secretary of State website is an excellent resource on Issue 1, including a video, ballot language and arguments for and against the issue.
?What's on your ballot?
In addition to statewide Issue 1, your ballot may include races for U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, statewide offices, the Ohio House of Representatives, Ohio Senate, judicial races, and local races and issues.
Want to know what other races and issues are on your ballot?
Finally, a note about Judicial elections
This year, voters will choose judges for all 12 districts of the Court of Appeals, as well as most common pleas and county courts, some of which will have contested primary elections.
Most Ohio voters say they don’t vote for judges because they don’t know enough about the candidates, according to a survey by the Bliss Institute at The University of Akron.
This is no longer a valid excuse.
For information about judicial races, you can visit judicialvotescount.org. This site allows you to search for judicial candidates by county.
And yes, these judicial races are important.
The various divisions within the common pleas court handle civil and criminal matters, domestic issues such divorce and custody issues, probate issues such as wills or guardianship and issues involving juveniles such as delinquency or neglect.
When someone does not like how their case was decided in the lower court, they take it to the Court of Appeals, which hears cases from common pleas, municipal, and county courts.
Judges that serve on the Ohio Supreme Court develop their judicial philosophy while serving on the trial court or the appeals court.
We all know the importance of judicial philosophy. Remember that crazy Scott Pontzer decision that turned the insurance industry on its head?
While I’m not sure how many voters skip voting in local judicial elections, voter drop-off in Ohio Supreme Court races is 25 percent.
Do your homework
The elections taking place at the ballot box next Tuesday are extremely important.
Yet in Ohio’s last midterm primary election, less than 41 percent of registered voters participated.
Join me in turning that statistic around into one that demonstrates our society cares and wants to make a difference.
It’s up to each one of us to turn the tide.
Do your homework, research the issues and candidates – and get out and vote!
To find general voting information, such as checking your registration, voting I.D. requirements and voting options, click here.
As always, don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!