Hamilton County election officials expect that state Issue 2 - not the mayoral or council races - will account for a possible spike in Cincinnati's election turnout Tuesday.
"We are hopeful that we will see a 35 percent turnout in the city and a little higher county-wide,'' said Hamilton County elections director Sherry Poland.
But she points out that "election turnouts are always difficult to predict."
Poland said turnout in the city could have more to do with a controversial ballot issue than the city's mayoral and city council races. Four years ago – the last time Cincinnati elected a mayor – turnout was about 30 percent in the city.
"We're also aware that one of the campaigns regarding Issue 2 did send out absentee ballot applications to voters, so it has we believe, caused somewhat of an increase of absentee voting by mail,'' Poland said.
The absentee voter applications were apparently sent out by an anti-Issue 2 organization.
Issue 2 is a ballot issue which would require state agencies to not pay more for prescription drugs than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on campaigns for and against the ballot issue, with the "no" side out-spending the "yes" side by about four-to-one. The pharmaceutical industry has financed the "no on 2" campaign.
Poland said that the trending in the early voting has been in favor of the Democrats in the in-person early voting at the board of elections and in favor of the Republicans when it comes to mail-in absentee ballots.
Polling places in Ohio will be open Tuesday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Voters uncertain about their voting status or where their polling places are located can contact their county board of elections or go to the Ohio Secretary of State's website, MyOhioVote.com.