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Politics & Government

Ohio's elections official strongly discourage holding two primaries this year

Voters cast their ballots using social distancing at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak
/
AP
Voters cast their ballots using social distancing at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Cleveland.

Some Ohio legislative leaders have said it’s going to be difficult to hold a May primary for Congressional and statehouse races because of problems with adopting new redistricting maps. They’ve suggested holding the vote for only those in a separate election later. But elections officials are discouraging the idea.

Aaron Ockerman with the Ohio Association of Election Officials said holding two primaries would be expensive.

“Elections aren’t cheap. It takes resources and manpower to staff and conduct elections. There are a lot of materials that have to be purchased, whether it is ballots or polling locations and paying poll workers. And it was not cheap," Ockerman said.

The idea of holding two primary elections last came up in 2011, he said. The estimated cost for holding the double election was around $15 million, he said. That price tag would likely be much higher in 2022 because elections become more complex since then, Ockerman said,

Elections require a lot of time to plan for elections and Ockerman adds there isn’t time to plan for two sets of poll workers, polling locations and more.

He also notes turnout is traditionally low in these primary elections and holding two could drive down turnout further. Ockerman sent lawmakers a letter outlining his concerns about the possibility and urging them to continue with the plan to hold one primary on May
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.