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Did rain stop voters from turning out for Cincinnati mayoral primary, Issue 3?

Posted at 7:15 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 21:30:55-04

NORWOOD, Ohio — Election officials in Hamilton County said some contentious city of Cincinnati races had them prepared for a bigger turnout than normal for Tuesday's Ohio primary, but as the rain rolled in Tuesday, their estimates might have come up a bit short.

But not by much. While turnout in off-year primaries is typically very low, Hamilton County Board of Elections director Sherry Poland said Tuesday's unofficial turnout of 15.32% -- 41,462 ballots -- is on the low end of what they expected.

"Our estimate was somewhere between 15 and 20%," Poland said Tuesday afternoon. "It doesn't look like we're going to make 20%, but we could make that 15% mark."

Polls were scheduled to remain open until 7:30 p.m.

For an off-year primary election, that's actually pretty good, Poland said.

"Unfortunately, it is. Cincinnati mayoral primaries I've seen turnout as low as 6%. I think we might beat where we were last mayoral primary," Poland said.

Poland did say, though, that most polling places across the county were steady with voters most of the day, with the longer lines forming earlier this morning and later this afternoon, outside the 9-to-5 business hours.

Overall, those operations went smoothly. Poland noted one polling place in Cincinnati's Northside neighborhood where Metropolitan Sewer District construction was blocking parking on Hamilton Avenue near the station, but the location never closed to voters.

In addition to a six-candidate race for Cincinnati's general mayoral election in November, three city ballot measures also catalyzed voters, especially Issue 3, a proposed charter amendment that would require that the city budget allocate $50 million in local funds annually to affordable housing projects.