Attention! Today is November 6. Election day.
A ton of important races and issues are on the ballot in Athens County this year, including the election of Ohio’s next governor; one of Ohio’s two U.S. Senate seats; both of Athens County’s two congressional seats; one Ohio House seat that’s up for grabs; and a seat on the Athens County Commission, among many other races.
You can head to the Athens County Board of Elections – located at 15 S. Court Street – if you have any questions today, or call or go to their website. You can also look up your polling location on that website, and you can find a sample ballot here.
You’ll need the following information to vote: Your name, current address, and some kind of proof of your identification (you can see all of the valid forms of ID here on the Ohio Secretary of State's website).
Most students who live in the dorms at OU who vote will do so at Baker Center today, though students need to be aware that there are usually long lines to vote at that location (there was upwards of a 45-minute wait at some points in 2016). Students who live in Bromley or Voigt Hall in Athens will need to vote at the First Presbyterian Church on North Court Street, however.
SO, WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT that’s so important? For some voters in Athens, here’s what the ballot will look like:
• For governor, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and running mate John Husted, both Republicans, face Democrat and former U.S. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray and running mate Betty Sutton. They also face Green Party candidate Constance Gaddell-Newton and Libertarian candidate Travis M. Irvine.
• For Ohio Auditor, Republican Ohio House Rep. Keith Faber faces Democrat former Ohio U.S. Rep. Zack Space and Libertarian Robert C. Coogan.
• For Ohio secretary of state. Republican Frank LaRose faces Democrat Kathleen Clyde and Libertarian Dustin R. Nanna.
• For Ohio treasurer, Democrat Robert Richardson faces Republican Robert Sprague.
• For U.S. Senator, incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. (and former Ohio Secretary of State) Sherrod Brown faces Republican nominee and current U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci.
• For 15th District U.S. Congress representative (the district that represents most of Athens County), Republican incumbent Rep. Steve Stivers (who has held that seat since 2011 and is chair of the powerful National Republican Congressional Committee fundraising group) faces first-time Democratic candidate Rick Neal, who is a humanitarian aid worker. Both live in the Columbus area.
• For the Ohio House’s 94th District seat, incumbent Republican Jay Edwards of Nelsonville faces Democratic nominee and Nelsonville City Council member Taylor Sappington, also of Nelsonville.
• For Athens County Commissioner, incumbent Democrat Lenny Eliason faces Independent challenger Bill Hayes.
• For Athens County Treasurer, Republican Gary Van Meter faces Democrat Ric Wasserman. Wasserman currently holds the seat, appointed to it after former Treasurer Bill Bias stepped down.
• State Issue 1 is also on the ballot. It proposes to reduce penalties for possession or use of drugs, even serious drugs such as heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine, to a misdemeanor-level crime, and prohibits jail time as a sentence for those crimes. It proposes to funnel money saved from the resulting reduced prison sentences toward addiction recovery treatment resources.
• Meanwhile, Athens City School District voters face a decision on whether to support a capital improvement bond issue and levy to fund reconstruction and renovation of the district’s buildings. The total bond amount to be funded by the tax levy is $60.5 million, and the average homeowner with a property valued at $100,000 would pay roughly $200 more per year.
• Alexander Local School District voters face a decision on whether to support a 1-percent traditional income-tax increase levy this year, the fifth time the district has asked for a tax increase in the face of stagnant state funding for the school.