THE BREAKDOWN: Election turnout shaky for Oberlin, up for Ohio

By Jason Hawk -

Turnout was actually quite high across Ohio on Election Day, though it was still tepid here in Oberlin.

Only 28 percent of voters here in town cast ballots despite Oberlin’s highly contested 14-way council race or the divisive issue of statewide marijuana legalization.

Just 2,210 voters were engaged in the city of the 7,880 who could have potentially taken part in the election.

That’s low compared to the Lorain County turnout rate, which was just a fraction above 41 percent with 80,317 voting. And across Ohio, 41.84 percent of the state’s 7.5 million voters cast ballots.

At any rate, turnout in the general election proved a far cry from what we saw this past spring.

The May primary was a dismal affair. Oberlin had neither candidates nor issues to weigh in on, and so didn’t participate. But turnout countywide hit just 11.75 percent (19.314 ballots) and it was even worse in neighboring Amherst, where less than two percent of voters bothered to take part.

No state in the Union broke 60 percent participation in the November 2014 election, which nationwide was the worst in 72 years. Ohio hit 36.2 percent in the midterms but less than a third in New York, Texas, and California (the three largest states) showed up.


We know which way the winds blew on Ohio’s big three decisions: Gerrymandering was struck a blow as Issue 1 passed with 71.5 percent approval; Issue 2 enacted anti-monopoly measures for future ballot issues but only got a bare majority (51.7 percent); and marijuana legalization was killed with a resounding 64.1 percent opposition at the polls.

But were those numbers reflected here in Oberlin?

On redistricting, 88 percent of Oberlin voters approved of having a bipartisan committee redraw lines. On monopoly controls, Issue 2 actually lost the Oberlin vote with just 46 percent in favor and 54 percent opposing the measure.

When it came to Issue 3 and pot, the Oberlin numbers were actually much closer than the state mean — though legalization still failed 44 to 56 percent.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk