What to know about Ohio primary election

By Jennifer Woods - and The Associated Press

Primary Election day has arrived with polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. for registered voters ready to cast their ballots.

It was reported late last week that only 511 out of 16,893 registered voters in Fayette County voted early. Since then, that number has jumped to 714 voters.

The most popular method for early voting was in-office at the Fayette County Board of Elections, located at 135 S. Main St. in Washington Court House.

According to the BOE website, www.boe.ohio.gov/fayette/, while 487 have voted in-person at the BOE as of May 1 at 7:29 p.m., 180 have voted by mail, 44 have voted during BOE days at nursing homes, two ballots have been hand-carried in, and one ballot has been sent by UOCAVA email (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act).

With early voting officially over, the only way Fayette Countians will increase voter turnout at this point is at the polls.

As previously reported, the largest local issue being voted on is the renewal of a Miami Trace five-year, 3.2-mill tax levy that will generate $1.9 million for the district each year if approved.

Registered voters who live in the Miami Trace Local School District will get to vote for or against the levy. The operating levy first passed in 2002 and most recently was renewed in 2017 — when it was reduced by $500,000. The purpose is to cover operational costs such as salary and benefits to the employees, purchased services (such as utility costs), and materials and supplies (such as curriculum resources for students).

For more information on this levy, please read the Record-Herald article titled, “MT renewal levy on election ballot,” by Editor Ryan Carter, www.recordherald.com/news/74062/mt-renewal-levy-on-election-ballot, or contact the Strong Schools Strong Community Committee members.

Ohio voters will pick nominees for governor and the U.S. Senate.

The races, particularly in Ohio, could provide a fresh window into former President Donald Trump’s sway among the party faithful. He has been especially involved in Ohio’s Senate primary, which has been marred by Republican divisions, along with campaigns for the U.S. House and secretary of state.

For Democrats, a potential threat to incumbent U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown in Cleveland is of keen interest. Brown is locked in a rematch against progressive challenger Nina Turner, a former state senator and surrogate for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns. Turner is trying again after losing to Brown in last year’s special election.

Voting in Ohio comes against the backdrop of a chaotic and still unresolved redistricting battle.

What to watch as the Ohio primary unfolds:


Seven candidates are on the ballot in Tuesday’s Republican face-off for the coveted open U.S. Senate seat of retiring Republican Rob Portman. They are Trump-endorsed “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance, former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, Cleveland investment banker Mike Gibbons, former Ohio Republican Chair Jane Timken, state Sen. Matt Dolan, whose family owns the Cleveland Guardians baseball team, and entrepreneurs Mark Pukita and Neil Patel.

The campaign has featured months of jockeying among top contenders for Trump’s endorsement, more than $65 million in TV and radio spending, dozens of debates and candidate forums, and one highly publicized physical confrontation between two candidates.

As Vance rides high on the Trump endorsement, other candidates who campaigned on their loyalty to the former president are hoping that heavy ad spending or a strong ground game can help them win. Dolan is the only candidate who ran as a Portman-like centrist, but Timken landed Portman’s endorsement.

Whoever prevails will face the winner of a three-way Democratic primary between 10-term U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, former consumer protection attorney Morgan Harper and Columbus activist and tech exec Traci Johnson.


Trump twice won Ohio by more than 8 percentage points, so many viewed getting his nod in the Senate race as critical to winning the crowded Senate primary. Instead, when he finally chose Vance, it divided the state.

That’s because Vance opponents, including Mandel, Gibbons and their allies, had aired months of ads highlighting Vance’s past anti-Trump statements. Some tea party Republicans protested an April 23 Trump rally featuring Vance, and one conservative group, Ohio Value Voters, urged its supporters to boycott — or boo Vance when he walked on stage. The deep-pocketed Club for Growth, a conservative group backing Mandel, has taken to TV with ads directly attacking Trump for his choice.

Trump also has backed candidates in two Republican congressional primaries: Max Miller, his former White House and campaign aide, in the sprawling new 7th District in northeast Ohio, and Madison Gesiotto Gilbert in the Akron-area 13th District. He also is backing Secretary of State Frank LaRose in his primary against former state Rep. John Adams, a conservative Trump supporter.


Democrat Nan Whaley is seeking to be the first woman in Ohio to get a major party’s nomination for governor. The former Dayton mayor is locked in a tight race with ex-Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, who is endorsed by feminist icon Gloria Steinem.

They see eye-to-eye on most major issues — guns, abortion rights, social justice — but Whaley has repeatedly pointed out that Cranley only recently said he was pro-choice. She also has the backing of the state’s top Democrat, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Neither candidate is a household name across Ohio. Both have struggled to draw attention as much of the state is focused on the contentious U.S. Senate race and ongoing redistricting fight.

The big question for first-term Republican Gov. Mike DeWine is just how many conservative voters will punish him for pushing aggressive mandates and shutdowns during the pandemic.

DeWine is widely known from a 40-year career in Ohio politics and in a solid position to win the GOP’s nomination for another four-year term. His two main challengers have tapped into the anger over the governor’s COVID-19 policies, but they’re likely to split those far-right voters.

DeWine isn’t taking any chances, pouring millions into advertising during the weeks leading into the primary. The concern will be whether those same conservative voters who were furious with DeWine will come back to him in November.


A protracted battle over Ohio’s congressional and legislative maps has played havoc with the state’s 2022 election calendar. For a long time, it looked like the May 3 primary wouldn’t go forward amid all the legal wrangling. Then suddenly it did.

Voter advocates, campaigns and political parties have stepped up efforts to get the word out as participation in early voting showed a 40% decline from four years ago.

Tuesday’s ballots will not list state legislative races, which are expected to be decided in a second primary later this year. The Ohio Redistricting Commission faces a deadline next week to try for a fifth time to draw district lines that don’t represent a partisan gerrymander and can meet constitutional muster. If the panel fails, a federal court has said it will force an Aug. 2 primary using one of the previously invalidated maps.

Congressional races have gone forward using a map that has also been invalidated by the Ohio Supreme Court. Ongoing litigation could result in a new map before 2024 elections.

To view other issues and uncontested local races, find proofs of the ballots of the various precincts in Fayette County at www.lookup.boe.ohio.gov/vtrapp/fayette/ballotlist.aspx.

To check the status and polling location for a registered Fayette County voter, please go to the Fayette County Board of Elections website, www.lookup.boe.ohio.gov/vtrapp/fayette/vtrlookup.aspx. Once a voter is located, voter record, general information, absentee ballot information, etc. can also be seen or requested.

Stay with the Record-Herald for coverage of the 2022 primary election in future editions. Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.


By Jennifer Woods

and The Associated Press