Marysville News

Elections board seeing more voter registrations

Campaign volunteers hope higher numbers will benefit May 7 school levy

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The Marysville school district's push for voter registrations may have an effect on turnout for the May 7 election.

Bill McCarty, deputy director of the Union County Board of Elections, said special-election turnouts in the past have been right around 25 percent of eligible voters. However, the school district's efforts to get voters to the polls may skew those numbers a bit, he said.

"Yes, we've seen a difference in registration," McCarty said.

Board of elections Director Ameena Birchfield agreed registration numbers are up, which means turnout numbers may increase as well.

"I have a feeling it will be a little bit higher just because of all the campaigning," Birchfield said.

McCarty said about 20,000 people are eligible to cast ballots May 7 out of 34,000 potential voters, but he said it's anyone's guess as to how many will go to the polls.

"You never know until election night when the tally's done," he said.

The district is asking residents to approve a 9-mill renewal levy and is campaigning on a "no tax increase" platform.

"Since it is a renewal, this levy will not increase your tax rate," Superintendent Diane Mankins said. "Funding from this ballot issue will go to day-to-day operations, including classroom teachers, textbooks, utilities and technology."

The 9-mill levy on the May ballot is a combination of two levies set to expire this year. If approved, the combined levy would cost homeowners $272 in property taxes for every $100,000 of valuation starting in 2014, the same as now.

A defeat would mean property owners would no longer pay the tax -- and that would cost the district nearly $7 million a year of its $47 million operating budget.

The levy would bring a change, though: The tax would become permanent. Before, each of the two levies went before voters every five years.

The voter registration deadline was April 8. The district hosted a Voter Registration Day March 5 during which residents could register to vote or update their voter registration information, and there was an effort at Marysville High School to encourage students who have turned 18 to register.

"They sent a batch of registrations over from the school," Birchfield said. "The total from the school drive is 79 -- 75 being new and three being a change of address. One was a duplicate."

The pro-levy campaign has put together a list of people who have promised to vote for the levy; on Election Day, volunteers will be stationed at each polling place checking to make sure these people made it in to vote and to call those who have not. They will check a list posted three times throughout the day by poll workers.

"The initial list is posted when the workers get there in the morning," McCarty said. "The list of who has voted is posted at 11 a.m. and then an updated list at 4 p.m."

The posted lists do not indicate how anyone has voted.

The levy volunteers are legally allowed to check the list but cannot ask poll workers for the names of those who have voted.

Mankins has also emailed parents of students about casting absentee ballots, along with an application form and a link to the Ohio secretary of state's website.

Absentee voting is now underway, McCarty said. Absentee ballots can be cast at 940 London Ave., Room F, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, May 3. Any qualified elector may vote an absentee ballot for any election, he said.

Completed absentee ballots that are mailed in must be postmarked by May 6 and received at the county elections board office by May 17. In-person absentee ballots must be received at the board of elections office by the time the polls close at 7:30 p.m. May 7.

Absentee votes are the first to be counted after the polls close.

Holly Zachariah of The Columbus Dispatch contributed to this story.

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