Low voter turnout, streetcar shape Cincinnati elections

CINCINNATI – Only 29 percent of Hamilton County's registered voters took to the polls on Tuesday,  resulting in a shift in city council and the election of a mayor in John Cranley who promised to put the brakes on the streetcar.

“You have to be motivated to vote and you have to be upset about something,” said WCPO political analyst Pat Crowley. “The streetcar is the biggest issue in the race.”

Throughout his campaign, Cranley opposed the transportation project that polarized Cincinnati residents since its inception and broke ground earlier this year. His opponent, Roxanne Qualls supported it throughout the campaign season.

Cranley won with 58 percent of the vote.

READ: John Cranley elected next mayor

RELATED: Newcomers Flynn, Murray ride anti-streetcar vote

Low voter turnout was reflected in both early voting totals and polling station reports throughout the day. Polling stations estimated at 4 p.m. on Election Day they were seeing 23 to 29 percent turnout rates.

Early voting was also low, with a total of 8,508 early voting ballots cast in Cincinnati. That’s compared to 14,500 in 2011 and 16,000 in 2009, as reported by WCPO's Kevin Osborne.

Overall, with good weather and both city council seats and the mayoralship open, a second, larger factor might have played into outcomes.

“I just think there is a lot of apathy,” Crowley said.

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