Voting in Ohio’s strangest primary election is finally over. Votes are still being counted but we know who won the Democratic primary. Congratulations to Jaimie Castle for Ohio Congressional District 2, Ryan Ottney for State Senate District 14, Alan Darnowsky for State Rep District 65, Jeff Richards for Clermont County Commissioner, and Acacia Uible for Clermont County Clerk of Courts.
Unfortunately the Clermont Sun reported in its April 30 edition Republicans Bonnie Batchler and Jean Schmidt had already won the offices of county commissioner and state rep for District 65. I sent a letter to the editor to bring the erroneous reporting to his attention. He apologized and promised a correction would be published. We must do all we can to get these outstanding local candidates, as well as Joe Biden for President and Jennifer Brunner, and John P. O’Donnell for Ohio Supreme Court, elected in November.
Congratulations and thanks to the 55 candidates elected as members-elect to our Central Committee. Miami Township elected the most people with a total of 18 members-elect. Bethel/Tate Township had the highest percentage of precincts, with five of the seven precincts, 71%, fielding candidates for the Central Committee. Over 100 precincts still remain without a Central Committee member. After the new Executive Committee is elected we will need to fill all those slots by appointment.
There were approximately 3,000 absentee ballots outstanding in Clermont County as of last Wednesday. They will probably not affect the outcome of the primary. Ballots postmarked April 27 or earlier and are delivered to the Board of Elections by May 8 will be counted. An unusually high number of provisional ballots were cast at the BOE last Tuesday. Voters could vote provisionally if they had requested an absentee ballot by noon on Saturday, April 25 but did not receive their absentee ballot in time to vote it. Pending further directives from the Secretary of State or the courts, those provisional ballots will not be counted.
It is possible that November will also be a mail-in ballot only election. The virus may cause many voters to vote by mail even if the polls are open on November 3. The timeline for absentee voting and the USPS are outside the control of county BOEs. Ohio needs to adopt absentee voting procedures for the November election that account for the deterioration in postal service which, if trump has his way, will be even worse by November.
The biggest takeaway from the Republican primary is that candidates should avoid being arrested until voting is over. It is heartening, slightly, that it is not enough, even for Clermont County Republicans, to just incant “God Guns Trump.” More seriously, the Republican nominee for State House from District 66 is far right. It would be very good if someone steps up to challenge him as a write-in candidate.
Uncounted ballots are unlikely to change the outcomes from the unofficial results released early Wednesday morning. The outcome that seems most vulnerable is the New Richmond Schools tax levy. Unofficial results show the levy passing by only 193 votes.
The official primary election results will be certified by the BOE on Friday, May 15. As required by law, that starts the clock for the CCDP reorganize process to begin. “Reorganize” means we will elect our Central Committee officers and our Executive Committee members. Then the new Executive Committee will elect the Executive Committee officers.
Our reorganization meeting will be conducted virtually on Zoom. ODP has directed that county party reorganization meetings must be conducted virtually through Zoom or a similar platform due to the corona virus. The Clermont County Democratic Party reorganization will be hosted by ODP at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. All elected Central Committee members are entitled to participate and vote. All are encouraged to do so. If you cannot or do not want to use a computer to participate you can participate by telephone, cell or landline. The meeting will follow the same procedures we have used for our in-person reorganization meetings in the past. There are, however, enough differences that we will be sending an explanation of the procedures to all Central Committee members. I will also summarize the procedures in the next newsletter.
ODP Chair David Pepper said on April 30 that ODP and the DNC aspire to use predominantly Ohioans as paid staff in the 2020 Ohio coordinated campaign. If you know of someone who has the interest and qualifications, please get their resume to me and I will send it on to ODP for consideration.
I am going to take this opportunity to put in a plug. I am running for re-election as Chair of our Executive Committee and I would appreciate your support.
Thank you for all you did for the primary. 2020 is going to be a very unusual general election campaign. We can win but, under these circumstances, our candidates need our help more than ever. Thank you in advance for all you are going to do for the general election. Stay safe.