Official decision: No May 7 primary
There will officially be no May 7 primary election in Washington County, according to the county board of elections, although some county residents will still have an issue to vote on.
After the February filing deadline, it appeared there would not be an election but that had to be confirmed with the Ohio Secretary of State.
However, there will be a special election held that day for residents in Aurelius Township, said Washington County Board of Elections Director Tara Hupp.
With no partisan contested political races and no county or citywide issues, Ohio law says a primary election in an odd year is not necessary, explained Hupp.
“What’s so interesting is in all of Marietta City and Belpre City, not enough candidates filed to create a race,” she said.
In order to need an election, there would need to be more members of a party running for a seat than the party could ultimately nominate.
Of the 21 people who filed for Belpre and Marietta positions, no two Democrats and no two Republicans filed for the same available position.
Two Democrats and two Republicans did file for Marietta City Council at-large seats. But with three at-large seats available, either party would have needed four candidates to force a partisan primary election, she explained.
Therefore, all of the candidates who have filed will be issued certificates of nomination as if they won their party’s primary election, said Hupp.
“Those candidates will all move on to the general election in November,” she said.
Two Belpre positions still have no candidates for the general election, she said.
No one has filed to run for Belpre City Council 3rd Ward and only two candidates have filed for Belpre’s three at-large council seats.
As it stands, none of Belpre’s positions will be contested in the November general election.
In Marietta, only the treasurer, council president, council at large and council 2nd ward seats are currently on track to be on the November ballot as a contested race, although independent candidates can still file.
The general election deadline for candidates filing as an independent is May 6 at 4 p.m. and the filing deadline for write-in candidates is Aug. 26 at 4 p.m., she said.
Not needing a primary election is rare, said Hupp.
But it does save the municipalities money.
“For an odd year primary, the board of elections does something called charge backs,” said Hupp.
That means that the cost of the election is charged back to whatever taxing authorities have issues or candidates on the ballot.
In the 2011 primary, the City of Marietta was charged $4,736 for election costs, which could include the rental cost for voting locations, wages for poll workers, ballot printing and delivery and advertising, explained Hupp.
The special election will include the 274 currently registered voters in Aurelius Township. The township falls within the boundaries of the Caldwell Exempted Village School District which is hoping to pass a combined renewal and additional levy this year, explained Board of Education President Abby Crock.
“It’s going to be catastrophic if this levy does not pass in May,” she said.
The 12-mill replacement and 7-mill additional levy are the bare minimum needed for the school district to break even, she said. If the levy does not pass, $920,000 in cuts will be needed for the coming school year, said Crock.
Those cuts have not officially been voted on, but will likely include personnel and high school course offerings, she said.
The Aurelius Township voters make up less than a tenth of the registered voters in the Caldwell Exempted Village School District, which falls mostly in Noble County.
According to the Noble County Board of Elections website, 2,993 Noble County residents voted in the school district in the 2012 general election.
The deadline to register to vote for the Caldwell Exempted School District special election is April 8. The Washington County Board of Elections will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. that day. Absentee voting for the special election will begin April 2 and end May 3 at 6 p.m.
Aside from the Aurelius precinct, no other precincts in Washington County will be eligible to vote in the May election.