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Low Voter Turn-out Predicted in Columbus and Franklin County

Franklin County voters tomorrow will decide pocketbook issues and local leadership posts. In the Columbus City School District, two incumbents and four challengers want voter approval to lead the board through budget, student discipline, and academic issues. But, voter interest in the race is lukewarm.

At the COTA bus stop near Cleveland and Agler, Chavelle Parker, A Navy veteran who moved to Columbus from California three years ago, checks her watch. When asked whether she intends to cast a ballot on Tuesday she has a short answer. "No, I'll be working," says Parker.

Parker says she's paid little attention to tomorrow's election even though she's a single mom with a son at a Columbus district middle school.

Parker will have plenty of company tomorrow, away from the polls. Franklin County's top election officer, Matthew Damschroder predicts fewer than a third of registered voters will take time to cast a ballot. "Well, you know C-N-N doesn't cover Columbus school board, and so much of what drives turn-out is kind of that media buzz and if that's lacking I think the public doesn't necessarily always view it as an urgency." Says Damschroder.

Across town, the breakfast crowd is thinnning out at Nancy's Home Cooking on North High Street in Clintonville. Chris Rettig and Andy McNulty both say they will likely cast ballots in Tuesday's Columbus school board race. McNulty says his final decision will be based on budget and student discipline issues. And he specifically mentions the district's handling of a sexual assault last March 9th, at Mifflin High School.

Rettig too, took note of the Mifflin incident and says his decision in the school board race will hinge partly on which board member advocates effective discipline policies.

Rettig and McNulty will have fewer choices in tomorrow's six-way race. Damschroder says the field was narrowed in May when the district held a primary to eliminate some candidates.

Incumbents Betty Drummond and Andrew Ginther are asking district voters for re-election. Challengers include Barbara Bryson, Bill Buckel, Michael Wiles, and Carlton Weddington. Three seats will be filled by voter choices.