2013 election

A poll worker at an Avondale polling place who is alleged to have voted twice last in November’s election has been referred to the Hamilton County prosecutor for possible prosecution.

The county board of elections – two Democrats and two Republicans - voted unanimously Tuesday to send the case of veteran poll worker Ellen Duncan of Avondale to the prosecutor.

Some final thought on the 2013 election, before we move on to the 2014 election (which, of course, is already well underway).

Apathy wins by landslide:  On Dec. 1, John Cranley will be sworn in as Cincinnati’s 69th mayor, along with nine city council members – three of whom are newly-elected.

Live election coverage

Nov 1, 2013

Our Twitter feed is providing live, up-to-date election information.  You can also visit twitter.com/917wvxu.

It’s official now.

The 2013 Cincinnati mayoral race between Democrats Roxanne Qualls and John Cranley will be the most expensive since the city began direct election of the mayor in 2001.

That’s not much history to go on, but a record is a record.

Campaign finance reports filed this week showed that Cranley, a former city council member, had raised $909,775 through the Oct. 16 cut-off date, while Qualls had raised $640,000.

Candidates for public office collect endorsements from groups and influential individuals the way that sports memorabilia enthusiasts collect autographed rookie baseball cards of Hall of Famers.

They hoard them.

And then they use them, for whatever they are worth, to get elected.

Cincinnati’s mayoral candidates, Roxanne Qualls and John Cranley have put together quite a collection.

Approximately 3,000 Cincinnati voters who have already been mailed absentee ballots will be getting a second one in the mail soon, thanks to an Ohio Supreme Court decision last week.

They'll also be getting a letter from the Hamilton County Board of Elections asking them to re-vote their new absentee ballots and return them to the board.

It's all because the Ohio Supreme Court ordered the board to restore sections of Issue 4, the charter amendment that would change the city of Cincinnati's pension system. The pro-Issue 4 committee had gone to court to force the change.

Yes, Cincinnati has a costly and contentious mayor’s race going on.

Yes, there is a mob of 21 candidates scrambling to win one of nine seats on city council. And, yes, there are plenty of controversial issues, from the streetcar to the parking lease to the city’s woeful pension system, for the candidates to argue about.

And yet, the truth is, there are clear indications that Nov. 5 will see the lowest turnout election in Cincinnati in many a decade. Maybe ever.

And what is the particular tea leaf we can read that would lead us to this conclusion?

UPDATE:

Ohio's top court says Hamilton County must amend its ballot language on a Cincinnati charter amendment ahead of the November election.

The Supreme Court Thursday ruled the county must include omitted sections of the proposed amendment to reform the city's employee pension program.  The group Cincinnati for Pension Reform put the issue on the ballot but objected to the modified language adopted by the Board of Elections.

Today is the deadline for Ohioans to register to vote in the Nov. 5  general election.

Voter registration forms can be downloaded at MyOhioVote.com, a website operated by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, and are available from local boards of elections and other designated agencies, such as public libraries and offices of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

If voters have moved since the last election, they should act today to update their voting addresses online at MyOhioVote.com.

One thing is certain in this year’s Cincinnati City Council election – there will be at least one new member taking office on Dec. 1.

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls is running for mayor; and that opens her seat to one of the 13 challengers in a field of 21 candidates, which includes all eight incumbents.

It’s not every day that you come across an issue that unites the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

Nor are there many issues on which the two Democratic candidates for Cincinnati mayor, John Cranley and Roxanne Qualls, agree.

But Issue 4, the tea party-backed charter amendment that will be on the Nov. 5 ballot, is one of them.  

John Cranley and Roxanne Qualls, the two candidates for Cincinnati mayor, will meet in a community forum at noon next Thursday at Christ Church Cathedral downtown.

Organizers of the Community Issues Forum, a long-standing noontime tradition at Christ Church Cathedral, are not calling the joint appearance of the two Democrats a debate.

At the forum, each candidate will be given an allotted period of time to lay out his or her vision for the city and plans if he or she is elected mayor on Nov. 5. Then, the candidates will take questions from the audience.

When you cast your ballot in this year’s Cincinnati City Council election, the ballot will look the same as it always has – a long list of 20-plus names, among whom you can choose up to nine.

And, as always, the top nine finishers in the council field race will become the new city council.

But this is a council election unlike any other in most people’s living memory.

Since 1925, when the charter form of government replaced the corrupt and incompetent ward system, Cincinnati voters have been choosing council members to serve two year terms.

No more.

A field of 22 candidates filed petitions by Thursday's 4 p.m. deadline to run for nine Cincinnati City Council seats in the Nov. 5 election.

Board of Elections officials said late Thursday afternoon they were still checking the petitions of four of those candidates to see if they have the required 500 valid signatures of Cincinnati voters to qualify for the ballot.

At least one new council member will be elected in November, because Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls is running for mayor.

A group that wants to change the pension system for city of Cincinnati employees has enough valid signatures to place a charter amendment on the November ballot, according to the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

The group, Cincinnati Pension Reform, turned in 16,116 signatures and 9,726 turned out to be valid signatures of Cincinnati voters. They needed 7,443 to make the ballot.

The group paid nearly $70,000 to a California firm that specializes in putting paid petition circulators on the ground in Cincinnati and gathered the signatures within a few weeks.

This is not your parents’ Charter Committee.


Not the staid old political organization, that, back in the 1920's, threw out the corrupt political bosses and instituted Cincinnati’s charter form of government. And who have, through the decades, sat back and scolded Democratic and Republican council members alike for going beyond their role of setting policy and interfering with the professional administrators of the city.


Some people have felt in recent years that Charter lacked relevance, pushed to the back burner of city politics.

A Cincinnati group trying to revamp Cincinnati’s troubled pension system through a charter amendment paid a California firm nearly $70,000 to put petition circulators out on the streets of Cincinnati.

Cincinnati for Pension Reform, a group that includes some long-time tea party activists, says it collected nearly 16,000 signatures, which are now being checked by the Hamilton County Board of Elections. They need the valid signatures of 7,443 Cincinnati voters to put the issue on the November ballot.

Tuesday is in an election day in Ohio - but only a relative handful of polling places will be open in southwest Ohio. 

Butler and Clermont counties have no issues on the ballot Tuesday, so polling places won't be open.

Hamilton County has only three issues on the ballot today:

- an additional tax levy of one mill for five years for health services in the city of Norwood;

- an additional five-mill, five-year tax levy in the village of Arlington Heights;

- and an additional 3.9 mill, five-year level in the village of Cleves.

Libertarian Jim Berns, who sent a hand-written letter to the Hamilton County Board of Elections yesterday, saying he was withdrawing from the Cincinnati mayor's race, told the board today that he wants to be a candidate again. 

But, board officials say, there is a legal question over whether Berns could withdraw from the race in the first place.

Tim Burke, the chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, told WVXU that the board's lawyer told the board there is no provision in the Cincinnati city charter allowing candidates to withdraw.

In a hand-written letter, Libertarian Jim Berns has told the Hamilton County Board of Elections he is withdrawing from the Cincinnati mayor’s race, saying he does not want “my participation in the illicit mayoral primary” that costs the taxpayers $400,000

But there are still three other candidates on the ballot - Roxanne Qualls, John Cranley, and Queen Noble. That means the September 10 primary will go forward.

The two candidates who will face each other this fall for the job of Cincinnati mayor will meet in two debates – one on Sept. 17 and another televised debate on Oct. 15 -    sponsored by the Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce.


The participants in the debate will be the two top vote-getters in the Sept. 10 mayoral primary. There are four candidates on the primary ballots – Democrats Roxanne Qualls and John Cranley, Libertarian Jim Berns and independent Sandra Queen Noble.

Sarah Ramsey

The Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council has endorsed for re-election all the Democratic incumbents on Cincinnati City Council except one - Laure Quinlivan.

Quinlivan is convinced it is because she ran afoul of Firefighters Union Local 48 in the recent debate over the city budget, where she argued that police and fire services should be subject to the same kind of budget-cutting as other city services; and suggested that police and firefighters should be paying more for their health insurance coverage.

Yes, the Cincinnati mayor’s race is the big-ticket item on this November’s ballot.


But there is a Cincinnati City Council race too, and there are going to be some serious choices for Cincinnati voters to make when it comes to picking nine people to set the policy for the city for the next four years.


Yes, four years. Since the late 1920s, council has had two year terms; but that changes with this election because of a charter amendment passed by voters last year.

2013 Election Results

May 7, 2013

Here are some of the key races we will be looking at this evening.  For live coverage via Twitter, visit our Live Election Coverage page, or visit twitter.com/917wvxu.

Hamilton County  (100% reporting ):

Mayoral Race
Cranley 58%
Qualls 42%

Provided

Now that the Cincinnati Democratic Committee has endorsed 10 Cincinnati City Council candidates, the trick for the party will be to let loyal Democrats know that they can only vote for nine of them.


“Yes, we need to develop a message on that,’’ said Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke said. “And, yes, it is a highly unusual situation.”


What happened was this:

Tuesday is a primary election day in Ohio, but voters in many townships, villages and cities in southwest Ohio won’t have anything to vote on.


The candidate races and ballot issues in southwest Ohio counties are few and far between – in fact, in Butler County, there is no election at all.


In Hamilton County, only 129 of the county’s 545 precincts will be up and running Tuesday, according to Amy Searcy, director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections. The 129 precincts are in 87 polling places.

The fate of the city of Cincinnati’s parking lease ordinance – and whether or not citizens can put a referendum on the November ballot – is now in the hands of a three-judge panel of the Ohio First District Court of Appeals, which heard oral arguments from both sides Monday morning.


The three judges – Penelope Cunningham, Patrick Dinkelacker, and Pat DeWine – heard from lawyers from the city and for the plaintiffs who filed the common pleas lawsuit against the parking lease plan in a half-hour hearing.

It is entirely possible that, this November, two immovable objects will collide on the ballot in Cincinnati.


There is, unless the appeals court intervenes, every likelihood that the referendum to repeal the parking lease passed by Cincinnati City Council will be on the ballot – opponents of the lease plan came up with thousands more signatures than they needed to qualify for the ballot.


And there is a Cincinnati City Council election, with all nine seats up for grabs.

campaign website

Former Cincinnati mayor and congressman David Mann was snubbed by the Cincinnati Democratic Committee's nominating committee for an endorsement of his city council campaign, but he is not taking it lying down.

Mann sent a letter Friday to the full membership of the Cincinnati Democratic Committee (CDC), which will meet Saturday, May 4th at the Letter Carriers Hall in Northside to vote on the nominating committee's recommendations.

Campaign website

Kevin Johnson, a West End business owner and aide to former council member Laketa Cole, didn't get the nominating committee's recommendation for a Democratic party endorsement, but he is running for Cincinnati City Council anyway.

Johnson will kick off his campaign at 6 p.m. Thursday at Sonny's All Blues Cafe, 4040 Reading Rd., North Avondale.

Johnson said, years ago, that is where he had a conversation with former Cincinnati mayor Dwight Tillery that "set my life on a different path. I trace my passion for public service back to that day."

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