Northeast Ohio voters worry about last-minute changes to ballots
A Voting Location Manager assists a voter with the ballot counter machine during the Ohio primary election, May 3, 2022, at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes for the Ohio Capital Journal. Please only republish photo with story with which it originally appears.)
The following article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.
Northeast Ohio boards of elections are experiencing numerous last-minute ballot changes, which is worrying voters across the area.
District maps should have been decided almost a year ago. But due to the redistricting debacle, a federal court instituted them earlier this summer.
From candidates being drawn out of districts to others randomly dropping out of races to run for different positions — Northeast Ohio voters have it tough this November.
“People are just going to go to their voting polls and just get their sticker and said, ‘yep, I voted’ and not know what they’re voting for,” Chris Blue-McMahon said.
Blue-McMahon is a Republican voter living in Akron, and he has been stressed by this election cycle.
The candidate for an appellate judge seat in his district withdrew her candidacy, saying she wants to run for a different seat.
Jill Flagg Lanzinger is running to be a judge of the Ohio Ninth District Court of Appeals. She ran unopposed in May primary, but decided to now run in the November election for a different bench seat.
This is just one example of the at least eight different last-minute changes in this area.
A House representative in Garfield Heights missed the filing deadline, then asked to run as an independent once the districts were drawn. Her opponents are protesting, bringing a News 5 story forward as evidence against her.
In another case, the Democratic House nominee for Ashtabula was drawn out of the district by a few feet, which disqualified her from the race after she won her primary.
Mike Oliver, the Medina Democratic candidate for House District 66, dropped out because he didn’t want to run anymore, according to the Ohio Democratic Party. Christina Collins, a member of the state board of education, was recently tapped for the position after being drawn out of her school board district. She hasn’t been approved to the ballot yet.
Democratic voter and Medina resident Hannah Magrum said there’s too much uncertainty.
“That could throw a lot of confusion into the race as far as feeling, maybe a sense of urgency or maybe not feeling like they have all the time necessary to do research,” Magrum said about voters.
Conservative-leaning Medina Libertarian Sam Livingston said he is nervous that the lack of information and constantly changing candidates could lead to even more division.
“It’s a travesty for the small percentage of people who really want to know,” Livingston said. “This does further advance the idea that people are going to go more identity politics.”
Without having ample time to find out who the candidates are and what position they are running for, Livingston said people are just going to choose based on the R, D or I they see on the ballot.
This could have all been dealt with months ago if we actually had fair maps by the original redistricting deadline, Magrum said.
Despite all having different affiliations, each of the Northeast Ohio voters said this process hasn’t been fair to them.
“I think, from a voter perspective, it can make you lose confidence at times in the system,” she said.
The Republican and Libertarian agreed.
“You cannot promise and guarantee a darn thing until that map is ready to go,” Chris Blue-McMahon said.
As of right now, Sec. of State Frank LaRose needs to rule on numerous candidacy changes. The voters say they deserve their ballots finished now, that way, when early voting begins in less than 50 days, they feel educated on their decisions.
Confused about your ballot? News 5 is here to help. We created a 2022 midterm elections guide, which is updated daily based on the changing candidacies.
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