One statewide issue and two county questions will be posed to local voters on the May 8 primary ballot.
Issue 1 is a proposed amendment to the state Constitution. It seeks to cut the degree of partisan control that determines how Ohio’s federal congressional districts are drawn.
Right now, the majority party has immense sway over drawing boundary lines. The amendment would require voting maps to be approved with broad bipartisan support.
The change aims to curb the gerrymandering that has warped districts into bizarre shapes for political gain. Doing so will limit the number of counties, cities, and townships split into different districts.
If the issues passes, a new map could be drawn in 2021 and become effective the following year.
A coalition called Fair Districts = Fair Elections was gearing up for a redistricting proposal when, in January, the Ohio General Assembly introduced its own in retort. The language on the May ballot is a compromise revision to the Assembly’s draft and is endorsed by the coalition.
Issue 4 is a request by the Lorain County Board of Mental Health to renewal 0.6 mills for five years to fund the social safety net programs the agency offers.
As a renewal, it does not introduce any new property tax. It would continue the existing tax to mental health treatment and crisis programs. Defeat at the polls would mean severe cuts to those programs.
The health board argues that state and federal funding has been slashed in recent years. Local support from Lorain County voters and taxpayers covers about 85 percent of the annual operating budget.
According to the county auditor’s office, the cost would be $16.32 per year for every $100,000 worth of property you own. The levy generates $3.6 million per year.
Issue 5 asks for the renewal of 1.6875 mills to continue helping people with developmental disabilities.
The Murray Ridge Center helps about 2,000 children and adults, including schooling, job opportunities, transportation, family support, and residential placement.
This is another issue that introduces no new taxes. The continuing cost is $49.63 per year for every $100,000 worth of property you own and the renewal will generate nearly $11 million annually, according to the auditor’s office.