Hamilton County

Here's something that Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke and his counterpart in the Hamilton County Republican Party, Alex Triantafilou, have in common, nine days before the election.

Neither one of them has even a vague notion of which presidential candidate – Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump – is going to win Hamilton County, a swing county in a swing state.

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In the past three weeks, there have been nearly 300 overdoses and three deaths from heroin in the Cincinnati area. These are unprecedented numbers and the situation is nothing short of a public health emergency. 

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Homeowners occasionally refinance their mortgages to take advantage of lower interest rates to save money. 

The Hamilton County Commissioners just did essentially the same thing Wednesday with the bonds it issued back in the 1990's to build Paul Brown Stadium, Great American Ball Park and other riverfront improvements.

Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

  The choice for the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) board Wednesday was simple – go to the voters now for a new sales tax increase to save the financially troubled bus system or go to the voters later.

In a unanimous vote, the board choose "later" – as in 2017.

One resolution before the board would have put a countywide sales tax increase on this November's ballot, but the board chose instead one which said the board "directs staff to take all appropriate actions necessary to prepare for a ballot initiative in 2017."

For local political party leaders, the trouble with presidential election years is that they don't happen in a vacuum.

While there is no more important decision voters will make on Nov. 8 than who will be the 45th President of the United States, a county party chairman has to worry about all the down-ticket races as well – the county commissioners, the county office-holders, the local judgeships.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Chris Monzel says the state of the county is strong.  The Hamilton County commission president delivered the annual State of the County address Thursday. 

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Hamilton County Administrator Christian Sigman turned in his resignation last week. Now county leaders are talking about how to find his replacement. 

Howard Wilkinson

Update 1:20 p.m.:   Butler and Hamilton counties have lifted their Level One snow emergencies.

Original Post: All of Hamilton and Butler counties were placed under a Level One snow emergency at 7 a.m., according to the county sheriffs. 

Level One means that roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. 

Neil said that people in all Hamilton County municipalities, townships and unincorporated areas should immediately remove any vehicle or vehicles parking in a designated Snow Emergency Lane. 

  Ohio’s primary election is March 15; and, in southwest Ohio, there’s every reason to believe that both Democrats and Republicans will have good reasons to go to the polls (or vote early).

Let’s deal with the obvious one first, the one every Republican and Democratic voter in the state can help decide – a little thing we like to call the “presidential primary.”

Ann Thompson / WVXU

There was some drama and outright odd situations in Wednesday’s candidate filing deadline for the March 15 primary.

Candidates had until 4 p.m. to get their petitions in to county boards of elections in Ohio. There were some interesting situations in the four southwest Ohio counties – Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

The recounts of the Nov. 3 election are over in southwestern Ohio counties; and two races – Arlington Heights mayor and a seat on Franklin city council – were decided by only one vote.

There were nine recounts altogether in Hamilton, Warren and Butler counties. Clermont County had no races close enough for a recount.

Warren County:

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Three southwest Ohio counties - Hamilton, Butler and Warren - will conduct recounts next week in nine suburban races that were extremely close in the official vote count.

Any race where there is a difference of one-half of one percent or less after the official count qualifies for an automatic recount.

Tuesday, over 198,000 Hamilton County voters checked in at their polling places and were processed with the brand-new electronic poll books and had absolutely no problems whatsoever.

They checked in; they voted; they went home with a “I voted” sticker for their lapels and shirt pockets.

But for a relative handful of voters – no one is quite sure yet how many, but board of elections officials call it a “significant number” – the new system caused a major headache and that ended up with several thousand more voters than usual casting provisional ballots; and, perhaps, disenfranchised some – probably because they got fed up with waiting and left the polling places.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Update 11/7:

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted told the Hamilton County Board of Elections Friday he wants a review of the county's problems with electronic poll books completed by Dec. 11. 

Board members have already launched their investigation into what went wrong Tuesday, when poll worker confusion and technical problems with the new e-poll books caused a judge to extend voting hours to 9 p.m. 

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Voting hours for Hamilton County extended by 90 minutes until 9 p.m. so voters who may not have voted because of glitches at the polling places can vote, a judge has ruled. 

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlmann made the decision after a hastily-arranged  hearing on a motion filed by an individual associated with ResponsibleOhio, the group backing Issue 3, which would legalize marijuana.  

Provided

The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners is currently deliberating the proposed 2016 General Fund Budget submitted by the county administrator. The budget funds the county'’s government services, including the Sheriff'’s Department, the Prosecutor’'s office and courts system.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the important role Hamilton County is likely to play in the presidential race next year; and how it will impact local races. 

www.denisedriehaus.com

State Representative Denise Driehaus is officially launching her campaign for Hamilton County Commission. She's running to unseat incumbent commissioner, and commission president, Greg Hartmann.

Tuesday’s an election day in Ohio, but very few voters in southwest Ohio will find that their polling places are open.

Ohio has 88 counties, but there are only 12 issues on the ballot in 11 of those counties.

  Most people assume that next year is the year when the presidential campaign and the U.S. Senate race suck all of the air out of the room in Ohio.

You won’t hear about anything else, especially in Hamilton County, which will end up being one of the most sought-after prizes in the Buckeye State by the presidential campaigns, and by both U.S. Senate candidates.

But they won’t suck quite all of the air out of the room in Hamilton County.

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