Elections in Ohio this year are kind of chaotic. Are they happening? Are all of the candidates on the ballot? Has your district changed? Will the results even count?
We're going to be honest – we don't have all the answers, and the Buckeye State doesn't, either. Ohio is in a bit of a boondoggle this election season due to the controversy surrounding district maps for state legislative races. The redistricting process, which was last completed in 2011, was supposed to rebalance the House of Representatives voting, among other initiatives, ultimately influencing an area's political affiliation and what those representative legislators might do.
But the Republican-packed Ohio Redistricting Commission has only put forth redrawn maps that cater to the party's own interests, leaving Democrats to call foul. The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected Republican maps four times thus far, declaring them unconstitutional. The legal battle over the boundaries continues, and the May election was nearly postponed because of it. But amid a decline in early voting, the primary election is happening albeit without state legislative races being listed. There will be – or could be – another election this summer to deal with that. In short: it's a mess. Read CityBeat's latest story about the redistricting issue or follow our "Ohio News" section to learn even more.
But there are still ballots to cast on Tuesday, May 3. Below, learn about just a few of the major elections that Ohioans will be voting on. There are additional races on the ballot, depending on your location. For a full rundown of voter resources, election calendars, identification requirements and more, visit the Ohio Secretary of State's website or a local county board of elections website, such as that for Hamilton County.
Primary winners will face off in the general election on Nov. 8.
Governor and Lieutenant Governor Primary
Republicans: Incumbents Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted are seeking reelection. Joe Blystone and Jeremiah Workman; Ron Hood and Candice Keller; and Jim Renacci and Joe Knopp are also looking for the Republican nomination. DeWine, who has been in politics since 1980, largely is considered the frontrunner, but state legislators have chipped away at his largely science-based handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, plus he's been swept up in FirstEnergy and Medicaid scandals.
Democrats: Former Cincinnati mayor John Cranley and state senator Teresa Fedor are battling for the Democratic nomination against former Dayton mayor Nan Whaley and running mate Cheryl Stephens. Both Cranley and Whaley hail from southwestern Ohio and have similar views and platforms, such as legalized marijuana, methods to reduce gun violence, abortion rights and renewable energy.
U.S. Senate Primary (current Senator Rob Portman is not seeking reelection)
Republicans: A crowded field of candidates are vying for the Republican nomination, with contentious debates becoming the norm. Middletown native and former never-Trump candidate J.D. Vance recently received an endorsement from the controversial former U.S. President. He is running against other conservative candidates who largely identify with far-right politics, including Josh Mandel, Matt Dolan, Mike Gibbons, Mark Pukita, Jane Timken and Neil Patel.
Democrats: The candidates for the Democratic nomination generally have avoided the fireworks that have been occurring among the Republican candidates. Seeking nomination are Rep. Tim Ryan, Morgan Harper and Traci “TJ” Johnson.
Secretary of State
Incumbent Frank LaRose is battling John Adams for the Republican nod, and the winner will face off in November against Democrat Chelsea Clark, who is running unopposed.
Hamilton County Clerk of Courts
Democrat Pavan Parikh was selected as Hamilton County Clerk of Courts after former clerk Aftab Pureval became Cincinnati's mayor. Parikh is running unopposed and will battle either former Cincinnati City Council member Steven Goodin or Pakkiri "Raj" Rajagopal, both Republican candidates.