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Cincinnati's mayor and council race top southwest Ohio's election day line-up

Despite some marquee races in the city of Cincinnati - the race for mayor and the selection of a new city council - election officials in Hamilton County are expecting a low turnout for today's general election.

Polls open in Ohio counties at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.

In southwest Ohio, most of the attention - and the campaign money - has gone to the race between Vice Maor Roxanne Qualls and former councilman John Cranley, who are running to replace Mayor Mark Mallory, who is term-limited out after eight years as Cincinnati's mayor.

The two candidates for mayor have raised a record amount of money for this campaign.

Cranley has topped the $1 million mark in campaign fundraising; and Qualls is expected to raise at least $750,000.

There is also a Cincinnati city council election pitting 21 candidates against each other for nine council seats. It is the first time Cincinnati voters will be electing council members to four-year terms, instead of the two-year terms they have served since 1925.

Nine candidates are running for four seats on the Cincinnati Board of Education.

In Butler County, the hottest race is a 3.5 mill additional school levy for Lakota Local Schools, which has a history of turning down school levies.

The same can be said for Clermont County’s West Clermont School District, where the district has a 5.8 mill, five year emergency levy on the ballot.

There are dozens of municipal, township and village offices up for election too, in the suburban areas of Hamilton County and the surround counties of Butler, Clermont, and Warren.

But election officials in all four counties are not expecting a large turnout – mainly because of the lack of  hot statewide ballot issues this year, as there were in 2011 (the Senate Bill 5 repeal) and 2009 (casino gambling).

Butler County Elections Director Lynne Kincaid he expects a turnout of only 23 percent. In Hamilton County, deputy elections director Sally Krisel said an “optimistic” turnout of 40 to 45 percent is possible.

If you are unsure of your polling place, go to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. You can look up your polling place here.

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.