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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Friday, May 6, 2011

March 2012 primary to move?

There is pending legislation — as well as talk across Ohio and locally — about moving the March 2012 presidential primary to May.

One reason for this is the major political parties’ presidential nominee might already be decided before voters in Ohio cast their ballots. So why hold the primary two months early?

Another reason would be that Ohio law requires candidates to file for office 90 days before an election.

As of now, a March partisan primary would mean candidates interested in running for office in 2012 would need to file their election petitions by Dec. 7.

Some potential 2012 candidates, who are officeholders in their respective communities, might also need to consider circulating petitions for a new office just days or weeks after winning a municipal election.

Compounding the situation is redistricting, which will be conducted this year. As a result, the boundaries for many districts such as Ohio Senate, Ohio House of Representatives and U.S. House of Representatives might not be known by that time.

Also, after the Ohio Apportionment Board draws the new maps, legal challenges may follow. Any such challenges likely would further delay what the new districts look like.

Moving the primary is an idea supported by the Ohio Association of Elections Officials.

Eliminate February, August elections?

Some public officials across the state are embracing the idea of eliminating special elections held in February and August.

The board of trustees for the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, which represents the 86 county boards of commissioners and the executive and county councils in Cuyahoga and Summit counties, recently approved a proposal to ask the Ohio General Assembly to eliminate special elections during these two months. The Ohio Association of Elections Officials also supports this proposal.

Lake County Commissioner Daniel P. Troy, who spearheaded the proposal to CCAO, said the association understands there are community charters that call for special elections, but that is something separate that the association doesn’t want to deal with right now.

Troy is talking about special elections for issues, not for candidates. He says the bottom line is elections are extremely expensive to conduct no matter who ends up paying for them.

Even though the entity requesting a special election eventually reimburses their county for conducting the election, there are still other costs such as elections board staff time. Plus, it is extra dollars that the requesting entity has to spend.

Special elections typically have very low turnout compared to a November or May primary election, so the cost to open up a poll and pay for pollworkers and other expenses often comes at a fairly high cost per vote cast.

Troy has frequently said publicly that voters should question why an entity would spend additional dollars to pay for an election when the cost could be shared among other entities and political subdivisions that have issues and candidates on the ballot during the November election.

Entities including school districts often argue that they may need additional time to plan in case their request is denied by voters. They also like the option to have another bite at the apple within the same calender year, if needed.

Lake County candidate filings

* Appointed Mentor councilwoman at-large Janet A. Dowling has filed petitions with the Lake County Elections Board for the Nov. 8 election to retain the seat, which has an unexpired term that ends Dec. 31, 2013.

* Kirtland Mayor Mark Tyler is seeking re-election and has filed petitions.

* Desirea Thompson filed petitions to run for Mentor-on-the-Lake Council.


* Kirtland Councilman Doug Davidson, a candidate for Kirtland mayor: Meet the Candidate Night from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Kirtlander Party Center. See Jim Yarborough or Gina Davidson.

* Geauga County Commissioner Mary Samide: Spring buffet fundraiser 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at S.O.S. Inc. in Chardon. See Samide or Jacqueline Moskal.
Twitter: @newsheraldjah


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