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One primary election still to go: what do we know?

May 16, 2022
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It was supposed to be just like any other midterm election year in Ohio: 2022 would require a single partially open primary election on May 3 to determine who would represent each political party as the nominee in the November 8, 2022 general election. Historically, midterm elections, which in Ohio have typically included all statewide offices, all members of Ohio’s House of Representatives, half of the members of Ohio’s Senate in addition to federal races for U.S. Congress, have been a key indicator of population sentiments and attitudes towards the sitting President and Governor and their respective parties’ agenda. The results can be key to predicting high-stakes public policy priorities for years to come. This differs from “off-year” or “odd-year” elections which typically focus more on local races, ballot initiatives and levies.

 As of May 16, the second primary date has not yet been finalized.

Standing in the way of a routine primary midterm this year, however, is a convoluted redistricting process made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic which set the release of the decennial census data back by months. For this reason, May 3, 2022 served as a primary election for some, not all, offices up for the November 8 General Election. As of May 16, the second primary date has not yet been finalized.

Ohio statewide results in the May 2022 primary

While voter turnout—the number of registered voters compared to the number of votes cast— commonly lags in non-presidential election years compared to presidential years, this year was far worse. According to the Ohio Secretary of State, the unofficial voter turnout for the May 3rd primary was 20.64 percent, meaning of nearly 8 million registered voters, only 1.6 million cast a vote. The only years on record that proved worse was the 2014 primary election with 16.96 percent turnout and the 2002 primary election with 19.4 percent. This primary’s turnout rate can be attributed to a myriad of things including lack of statewide ballot initiatives, confusion around the redistricting process and many uncontested races, and will likely be studied for years to come.

 Of nearly 8 million registered voters, only 1.6 million cast a vote.

Still, on May 3rd, the Ohio voters who did go to the polls participated in the first of two primary contests this year. All registered voters in the state requesting a partisan ballot (Democratic or Republican) had the opportunity to vote for party nominees in statewide races for Governor & Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor, Treasurer, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice, Ohio Supreme Court Justice and one member of the United States Senate. Though all of these primaries were not contested, the winners of these contests by party for the November 8 General Election are as follows:

Primary results: local races and issues

Congressional races  

Like the Ohio General Assembly, Ohio’s Congressional map (as well as that of the rest of the country) was also due to be reworked based on population decline established by the 2022 decennial census. From 2012-2022, Ohio’s congressional delegation, that is its number of members in the U.S. House of Representatives (16) plus the two members of the United States Senate was 18. Following the 2022 census, that number decreased to 17 as our population loss led to the loss of one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The winners of these contests by party for the November 8 General Election are as follows:  

 

Municipal races  

Several of Ohio’s largest counties held municipal elections including:

  • Franklin County – county auditor, county commission, and court of common pleas judges
  • Fairfield County – county auditor and county commissioner
  • Cuyahoga County – county executive, county council, and court of common pleas judges
  • Hamilton County – county auditor, county commission, and court of common pleas judges
  • Lucas County – county auditor, county recorder, county commission, and court of common pleas judgesStatewide public school levies  

Preliminary analysis of school funding issues on local ballots indicates that voters approved 49 of 75 levies, a passage rate of 65 percent – similar to the rate of the previous year. Funding generated from local school tax levies comprises approximately two-thirds of the funding for Ohio schools.  

Statewide library levies  

Preliminary analysis of library levies on local ballots indicates that all 6 local libraries requesting funding from levies were successful. While public library levies vary, many are used for daily operations such as buying the materials that are available for borrowing, paying staff, purchasing supplies and the maintenance and operations of the library building.

 All 99 seats in the Ohio House of Representatives are up for election in 2022 as well as seventeen out of 33 seats in the Ohio Senate.

General Assembly  

In an unprecedented move, due to the ongoing deliberations among the Ohio Redistricting Commission and the Ohio Supreme Court, district lines are still not settled for the Ohio General Assembly and thus primary contests for these races will be at a later date.  

All 99 seats in the Ohio House of Representatives are up for election in 2022 as well as seventeen out of 33 seats in the Ohio Senate. Stay up to date on latest developments in the redistricting process here and check with your local board of elections for accurate information on the next primary date.

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