The Primary Election

Ohio’s Primary Election Day, March 19, is a week away. To those of you who have already cast their ballots, thank you. For those of you who still have not voted, there are several things to remember:

1. Vote by Mail. If you intend to mail your voted primary ballot back to the Board of Elections, it will not count unless it is (a) postmarked no later than March 18 and (b) delivered to the BOE no later than March 23. Obviously, it is out of your control when the Postal Service delivers your ballot to the BOE. We are close enough to the deadlines that I urge you not to mail back your voted ballot if you have not already mailed it. Instead, take your voted ballot, in the identification envelope, to the drop box outside the Board of Elections office at 76 S. Riverside Drive, Batavia. The drop box is available 24/7. It is secure. It is emptied multiple times per day. Ballots put in the drop box any time before 7:30 p.m. on March 19 will be counted.

2. Vote Early In Person. You may vote in person at the Board of Elections office. The hours the office is open for voting are:

Tuesday, March 12 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 13 through Friday, March 15 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 16 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 17 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Remember that the General Assembly did away with early voting the day before Election Day. If you have not voted by Sunday, March 17, you need to go to your polling place on Tuesday, March 19. Polling places are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

3. Write-in Elizabeth Jones. Somewhere in the middle column of your Democratic ballot, you will see a space titled “For Clerk of Court of Common Pleas.” Below that title is a blank oval and a line with the words “Write-n” below the line. Darken that oval. On the blank line, write Elizabeth Jones.

4. Don’t Do the Heimlich Maneuver. Many of you have received mailers and/or e-mail urging you to vote in the Republican primary to vote for Phil Heimlich as the Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s Second District. I talked about this in this column a few weeks ago. I want to remind people why this is a bad idea. First, you cannot vote in both parties’ primaries. It is one or the other. Voting in the Republican primary means you cannot write-in Elizabeth Jones, and you cannot vote in the contested Democratic races for Ohio State Senator and Ohio Supreme Court Justice. Second, voting in the Republican primary changes your voting registration to Republican for the next two years. Third, a vote for Heimlich is a vote for someone who is extremely conservative who opposes many of our values. Fourth, a vote for Heimlich is a wasted vote. He has no realistic chance of winning the Republican primary for Congress. Fifth, the one argument in favor of voting for Heimlich is that he is anti-trump. That may be true today but, in the unlikely event Heimlich won that seat in Congress, there is no guarantee he would remain anti-trump. Every Republican member of Congress will be under tremendous pressure to toe the trump line backed up by the plausible threat of losing in the Republican primary in 2026 if they do not toe the line.

The November 5 General Election

We know that the 2024 Presidential election will be a rematch of President Biden against trump. This is a critically important election for our democracy, and I am already hearing Democrats expressing the belief that trump will win. This is absurd, and risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, much of the media (and not just Fox) is portraying trump’s election as inevitable. Most of the media said the same thing about Hillary Clinton in 2016, right up until Election Night.

Don’t forget that trump has run for president twice before, in 2016 and 2020. In 2016, more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than voted for trump. In 2020, more Americans voted for President Biden than voted for trump. Trump’s supporters are a minority, loud, but a minority. The media does give trump and his followers (which includes most elected Republicans) a tremendous amount of attention. First and foremost, the media want people to consume their content. From his multiple indictments to his declared intent to be a dictator on day one of his second term, trump draws attention. Second, some media apparently believe that they must publicize trump’s lies and the lies of his minions to be “fair.” This perverse view of fairness seems to dictate that any item published which suggests trump will not win must be balanced by one saying he will win. At the end of the day, media companies exist to make money. They will do whatever they perceive likely to make them the most money.

But, you say, Biden is old and speaks poorly on occasion. trump is also old and regularly rambles incoherently. Even if you buy the idea that they are two doddering old men, there is still a crucial difference. trump’s approach to every issue is based on malice and hate, and he takes pride in his dishonesty.

Still, you say Biden takes positions inconsistent with my progressive values, as exemplified by his support for Israel despite what Israel is doing in Gaza. This irritates me more than any other anti-Biden argument I have heard. No matter the issue, be it access to abortion, climate change, common sense gun regulation, or workers’ rights, Biden is much closer to the progressive position than trump. Given trump’s close relationship with Netanyahu (remember that Netanyahu had a new settlement in the occupied territory named after trump) and his open hostility towards Muslims, you cannot rationally think that the people in Gaza will be better off with President trump. Are you so wrapped up in your own ideological purity that you’re willing to accept all the harm trump will do rather than vote against him and work to defeat him? Is your self-image really more important than the good of our country and our world?

Well, you say, I simply won’t vote for Biden or trump. Understand that the November election is either/or. We either re-elect President Biden or we will have President trump. Not voting is a vote for trump. Given trump’s demonstrated disdain for our Constitution and democracy; his open admiration for the world’s worst totalitarians, like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Il; and his hostility towards women, non-whites, gays, lesbians, and transgender; a vote for trump even by omission is shameful.

The election of donald trump as president in November is inevitable only if we allow it to be. This November election is not the time for protests or ideological purity. This November election is a must win to preserve our democracy. The only permissible course of action is to start working now to re-elect President Biden, and to elect the rest of our Democratic ticket.