Here's everything on Hamilton County's 2021 ballot and what you need to cast your vote
The ballot in Hamilton County has key races in several municipalities, as well as two county-wide tax levies.
There's a lot at stake, like a potential remake of City Hall and the Cincinnati Public Schools board, as well as a revamp of the city's charter, and a controversial parks levy.
Here is everything you need to know before you head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 2:
Am I registered to vote?
Check to see if you are registered to vote on the Hamilton County Board of Elections website. You needed to register by Oct. 4 of this year in order to be eligible. If you are not eligible, you can register here, but will not be able to vote in Tuesday's election.
Where do I vote?
Find your polling place by entering your street address and zip code on the Hamilton County Board of Elections website.
When are polls open?
Polling locations will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET.
Do I need ID?
Yes. You'll need to present an acceptable photo ID or document with your name and current address that matches your voter record.
Accepted photo IDs include:
- Ohio driver's license
- Ohio state ID
- Interim documentation
- State of Ohio or federal government issued ID
- Ohio concealed weapons ID
Accepted documents must show your name, current address and be dated within the last 12 months. They include:
- Utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- Payroll check
- Government document
- Military ID issued by the Department of Defense
If you cannot provide any one of the above at your polling location, you will be able to vote using a provisional ballot and providing the last four digits of your social security number or by appearing at the Board of Elections office within seven days of Election Day to present your accepted ID.
Who/what am I voting for?
For all of Hamilton County, it's one judgeship and two levies. And some areas have school board candidates on the ballot. But for voters in the city of Cincinnati, it's a lot. Your ballot will have two candidates for mayor, 35 (!) candidates for nine seats on City Council, candidates for school board, the two aforementioned tax levies and one charter amendment. WVXU has voter guides to all of them. You can see all of our coverage of many of the races here.
You can see a full sample ballot for your address at votehamiltoncountyohio.gov/sample-ballot.
Click on a topic to skip to that section:
List of all candidates and issues
From the Hamilton County Board of Elections:
Judge (District 2)
One person will be elected to a term ending Jan. 2, 2024.
- Bertha Garcia Helmick (appointed in April 2021)
- Donte Johnson (endorsed by Democratic Party)
- Elizabeth A. Tye
Issue 1: Children Services Tax Levy
The children services tax levy is an existing levy that funds federal and state-mandated services like investigating allegations of abuse and neglect.
The levy was first passed in the 1980s and remained at the same level for decades. Voters approved a supplemental increase in 2018. Issue 1 is a combination of the original levy and the 2018 supplement.
Although the ballot indicates the levy is a renewal and increase, the levy is actually the same level as it has been since 2018. If passed, homeowners will pay slightly less in taxes while the county continues to bring in about $80 million a year for children services.
Full ballot language: A renewal of two and seventy-seven hundredths (2.77) mills and an increase of one and seventy-four hundredths (1.74) mills to constitute a tax for the benefit of Hamilton County, for the purpose of supplementing the general fund to provide support for children services and the care and placement of children at a rate not exceeding four and fifty-one hundredths (4.51) mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to forty-five and one tenths cents ($0.451) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for five (5) years, commencing in 2021, first due in calendar year 2022.
Issue 29: Great Parks of Hamilton County Tax Levy
An existing levy runs through 2026 and costs homeowners about $30 per $100,000 of home value. Issue 29 is an additional levy estimated to cost about $33.25 a year per $100,000 of home value.
The additional revenue would fund infrastructure improvements like roads, parking areas, bridges, dams and utilities, miles of new trails, and dredging at Winton Lake.
If the levy doesn't pass, park officials say operations will continue with no new projects; parking lots and paved trails would not be resurfaced and might need to be closed for safety reasons.
Under current projections the additional levy would generate more than $200 million over 10 years. The district aims to raise $50 million in philanthropic giving, and generate additional dollars through increases in earned revenue such as fees for services - thins like program fees, fishing permits, camping permits, etc.
Full ballot language: An additional tax for the benefit of the Great Parks of Hamilton County for the purposes of acquisition, conservation, and protection of natural resources and park land; operation and administration of park facilities, and programs; improvements to park infrastructure, facilities and natural resources; development, maintenance, and provision of outdoor recreation and nature education facilities, trails, programs, and services in current and future parks and nature preserves owned, leased, or operated by Great Parks of Hamilton County; and for such other parks and recreational purposes at a rate not exceeding ninety-five hundredths (0.95) mill for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to nine and one-half cents ($0.095) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for ten (10) years, commencing in 2021, first due in calendar year 2022.
City of Cincinnati
One person will be elected to a four-year term. There is no incumbent — Mayor John Cranley is term limited.
- Full interview with candidate David Mann
- Full interview with candidate Aftab Pureval
- Cincinnati Editioninterviews both candidates
- Watch first mayoral debate
Nine people will be elected to two-year terms. Voters can choose up to nine candidates out of 35 names on the ballot. There is one elected incumbent and there are four appointed incumbents.
- Full voter guide
- Cincinnati Editiondiscussion and analysis
- Candidate survey: corruption
- Candidate survey: transportation
- Candidate survey: housing and development
- Analysis: Why attempts to change at-large council seats have failed
Cincinnati School Board
Six candidates, including two incumbents, are on the ballot for four seats on the Cincinnati School District Board of Education. The terms are for four years.
Eight anti-corruption measures are included in this proposed amendment to the Cincinnati charter.
State Representative Tom Brinkman (and candidate for City Council) authored the amendment and circulated petitions to get it on the November ballot.
Hamilton County has two county-wide tax levies on the ballot and more than a dozen municipalities and school districts with new or renewing levies.
Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes provided a summary of all proposed levies with the estimated cost for homeowners per $100,000 of home value. You can also customized estimates for every levy-affected property at hamiltoncountyauditor.org.
"I urge all property owners to check for estimates individual levy costs before voting," Rhodes said in a statement. "Access property information for a parcel on the website and then click on 'Levy Information' on the right side column to see proposed levies in a specific taxing district."
The Hamilton County Educational Service Center has four candidates for three seats on the governing board. Three of the candidates are incumbents.
Educational Service Centers are part of Ohio's education system; they are local agencies governed by publicly elected boards. Every district with an enrollment of 16,000 students or fewer is required to be aligned with an ESC; districts with larger enrollment have the option to align with one. ESCs offer administrative, academic, fiscal and operational support services to school districts.
Seventeen school districts in Hamilton County have contested races for board members (see the document embedded above for details):
- Cincinnati School District: 6 candidates for 4 seats (4-year terms)
- Indian Hill Exempted School District: 11 candidates for 3 seats (4-year-terms)
- Loveland City School District: 8 candidates for 3 seats (4-year term) and one uncontested candidate for an unexpired term ending 12-31-2023
- Mariemont City School District: 6 candidates for 3 seats (4-year terms)
- Milford Exempted Village School District: 8 candidates for 3 seats (4-year terms)
- Norwood City School District: 4 candidates for 3 seats (4-year terms)
- Princeton City School District: 3 candidates for 2 seats (4-year terms)
- Reading Community City School District: 4 candidates for 3 seats (4-year-terms) and one uncontested candidate for an unexpired term ending 12-31-2023
- Sycamore Community City School District: 7 candidates for 3 seats (4-year terms)
- Winton Woods City School District: 6 candidates for 3 seats (4-year terms) and 2 candidates for 1 unexpired term ending 12-31-2023
- Wyoming City School District: 7 candidates for 3 seats (4-year terms)
- Finneytown Local School District: 6 candidates for 3 seats (4-year-terms)
- Forest Hills Local School District: 7 candidates for 3 seats (4-year terms) and 3 candidates for 1 unexpired term ending 12-31-2023.
- Lockland Local School District: 5 candidates for 3 seats (4-year terms)
- Northwest Local School District: 5 candidates for 3 seats (4-year terms)
- Oak Hills Local School District: 5 candidates for 3 seats (4-year-terms)
- Southwest Local School District: 2 candidates for 1 unexpired term ending 12-31-2023
Several other districts have uncontested races for board members.