$20 million has been allocated for Ohio's second primary election on Aug. 2
A bill to pour half a billion dollars into projects in Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties also sets aside $20 million dollars to run the August 2 primary elections for state House and Senate districts.
A federal court paved the way for those elections after it ordered the state to use maps that were found unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court in March.
Republican Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) wanted lawmakers to spend $1 million more to allow pre-paid voter request forms to be sent to voters. Without them, he said turnout on August 2 will be abysmal.
“My friends, you are looking at a primary in which you will be lucky to get two to five percent of the voters coming out,” Seitz said.
Seitz was critical of members of the Ohio Senate who would not allow money for pre-paid voter request forms.
Democratic Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) placed her criticism on Republicans. She voted for the bill but said there didn't have to be two primaries as she took a swipe at majority party members who she said could have delayed the entire May primary until constitutional legislative district maps were adopted. That, she said, would have saved taxpayers millions of dollars.
“We could have had the exact same outcomes with the exact same maps with one primary, and it was an intentional choice not to do that” Sweeney said.
The bill passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support but it was clear many lawmakers weren’t happy about the need for it.
What happens next
Information on the statehouse legislative districts is available through the Ohio Secretary of State's website. The deadline for voter registration for August 2 special election is July 5, 30 days before the special election. Early voting for that election begins July 6.
The general election will be held on Nov. 8. In addition to Ohio House and Senate districts, voters will be deciding contests for governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state auditor and state treasurer. They'll also decide who will replace U.S. Senator Rob Portman and choose who will represent them in newly drawn Congressional districts.
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