Absentee 2020

Albany residents Lowell Cremeans, right, and Kyle Wagner, left, drop off their absentee ballots today in the ballot drop-off box behind the Athens County Board of Elections in uptown Athens. Photo by Conor Morris.

The unofficial results of Ohio’s delayed primary election finally came on Tuesday night. In local races in the Democratic primary, Athens County Treasurer Ric Wasserman held his seat against challenger Peter Kotses. Meanwhile, Athens County Assistant Prosecutor Zach Saunders overcame a challenge from local attorney Rusty Rittenhouse for the Democratic nomination for the county Common Pleas Court’s probate-juvenile judgeship.

Those were the main local races to watch Tuesday, with Wasserman not facing any Republican challenger in the November general election and Saunders facing local attorney Kenneth M. Ryan (a Republican who was unopposed after his challenger dropped out) in the November general election. Meanwhile, two local levies, one in Buchtel and one in Albany, both passed.

Regionally, first-time Democratic candidate Joel Newby won the Democratic nomination for U.S. House District 15 over first-time candidate Daniel Kilgore, 27,865 (65.91 percent) to 14,412 (34.09 percent). In November, Newby will face incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, who plays a big role in national GOP fundraising.

Newby thanked his supporters in a Facebook video post on his campaign stage Tuesday night, and looked to the future, arguing that the 15th District has been “failed” by Rep. Stivers, in part referring to the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is time to retire Rep. Stivers,” Newby said. “Send him on to his dream job as a lobbyist for the banks. It is time to put our hometowns first. It’s about prioritizing those who have been forgotten, those who have been left behind.”

The primary election, initially set for mid-March this year, was delayed at the last minute due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In-person voting for the most part had been eliminated entirely, though the Athens County Board of Election on Tuesday did accept some in-person provisional votes from people who did not receive an absentee ballot request form (with only two voters allowed inside the BOE offices at any one time).

Athens County BOE Director Debbie Quivey said that while the board was letting people vote in that way, there’s a “good chance your ballot (won’t) count” because the bill approved by the Ohio Legislature and Ohio’s governor only allows in-person voting for groups of people with a disability or groups of people who are homeless. She said the BOE wanted to give people an opportunity to vote regardless.

Otherwise, most votes were turned in via mail or dropped off at the Athens County BOE’s drop-off box in uptown Athens this 

year, meaning a significantly reduced turnout is probable, compared to a normal primary.

The Athens County Democratic Party held a Zoom meeting Tuesday evening where candidates and other local Democrats heard the results. Saunders thanked supporters in a Facebook post Tuesday night.

“I want to sincerely thank each and every person who supported this campaign. It is because of you that I am in this position. I will never forget it,” he said. “Now on to November; let’s go win this thing!”

Athens County’s vote total for the primary this year was way down, with a total of only 8,399 ballots cast (6,607 Democratic and 1,779 Republican) for a turn-out rate of 20.53 percent (out of 40,917 registered voters). During the 2016 primary, a total of 15,658 Athens County voters voted, almost double the turn-out rate for this year.

You can find statewide unofficial results on the Ohio Secretary of State’s page website. Note that the Athens County results below are unofficial results and do not include write-in candidates. Also it’s important to realize that the legislative numbers represent just Athens County’s vote, not the entire district where candidates ran.

Athens County Treasurer

*Ric Wasserman (D): 3,668 (61.99 percent)

Peter Kotses (D): 2,249 (38.01 percent)

Athens County Common Pleas Probate-Juvenile Judge


*Zach Saunders: 3,122 (53.29 percent)

Rusty Rittenhouse: 2,736 (46.71 percent)


Kenneth E. Ryan: 1,149 (73 percent)

Scott M. Robe: Dropped out of the race. 

U.S. House, District 15 representative

Democrats - Overall winner: Joel Newby

*Joel Newby: 2,933  (59.98 percent)

Daniel Kilgore: 1,957 (40.02 percent)

Republican - Overall winner: Steve Stivers

*Steve Stivers: 1,202 votes (85.80 percent)

Shelby Hunt: 199 (14.20 percent)

State Representative, Ohio 94th House District


Jay Edwards: 1,516


Katie O’Neil: 3,256

Ohio Senator, Ohio Senate District 30


Frank Hoagland: 1,324


Michael Fletcher: 4,503

Albany Village Fire Protection Tax Levy, Renewal

For*: 112

Against: 27

Buchtel Village, Current Expenses Tax Levy Renewal

For*: 54

Against: 21

Athens Ward 1, Precinct 3 Sunday Liquor Sales - Cat’s Corner

Yes*: 72

No: 13

U.S. President, Democratic Primary (all candidates have dropped out but Biden, though many of the votes were cast early before some of the candidates had withdrawn)

Joe Biden*: 3,758 votes (59.17 percent)

Bernie Sanders: 1,986 (31.27 percent)

Elizabeth Warren: 280 (4.41 percent)

Michael Bloomberg: 90 (1.42 percent)

Amy Klobuchar: 89 (1.4 percent)

Pete Buttigieg: 65 (1.02 percent)

Tulsi Gabbard: 52 (0.82 percent)

Tom Steyer: 20 (0.31 percent)

Michael Bennett: 10

Deval Patrick: 1

Andrew Yang: 0

Votes for U.S. President,

Republican Primary

Donald Trump*: 1,594 (100 percent)

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