A steady stream of voters have turned out in West Chester Township at Union Elementary, Endeavor Elementary, the West Chester Township Administration Building, Lakota West High School and the Ronald Reagan Lodge at Voice of America Park.
In what has been referred to as an “off-year election” – voters appear to be coming out due to interest in Issue 2 and in the Lakota school levy.
For some voters, like Judy Schmidt of West Chester, Issue 2 was a confusing issue. Schmidt thought Issue 2 television ads didn’t clearly portray what the issue was really about.
>>>PHOTOS OF ELECTION DAY 2011 IN WEST CHESTER<<<
It wasn’t until Schmidt recently discussed Issue 2 with her husband that she how she wanted to vote.
Like many West Chester voters, Schmidt wasn’t comfortable in discussing if she voted for the issue or the school levy.
On the other hand, Kathleen Boring of West Chester did confirm that she was for the levy.
“I think parents are really feeling the crunch (after cuts were made to Lakota),” said Boring, who has two children in the Lakota school system.
“It is a fantastic school system. I just would like to see it maintained.”
Boring, who moved from Monroe, N.C. a few years ago, said that taxes are already high in West Chester compared to her former hometown and said that the levy “is a very difficult decision to make” for voters.
>>>ELECTION DAY 2011 WEST CHESTER VOTING GUIDE<<<
Besides Issue 2, voters have been confused on what to do about the fiscal officer race in West Chester Township – which included candidates Chris Xeil Lyons, Bruce Jones, Christy Miller, Kerry Hendel and Mark Toney.
“I think the biggest hurdle in this race was educating the voters about the job of the fiscal officer,” said Lyons, who greeted voters this morning at Union Elementary.
“It is hard to elect somebody when you don’t fully understand what their responsibilities and duties really are.”
Voters may also not be familiar with the candidates, considering current West Chester Township Fiscal Officer Patricia Williams is not seeking re-election after holding the position since 1976.
Williams, who is visiting all the polling locations in West Chester today, decided not to endorse any of the candidates.
>>>CUTS TO MADE IF LAKOTA LEVY PASSES OR FAILS<<<
Meanwhile, in October, Lakota Board of Education President Joan Powell endorsed two other candidates running for the school board rather than incumbent candidate Lynda O’Connor.
The endorsement, which came by way of a letter to Powell’s supporters, made headlines at the Cincinnati Enquirer and caused infighting among Lakota school board members.
Her endorsed candidates, Julie Shaffer and Jamie Green, are up against Mark Etterling, Lucas Hall and O’Connor. The NoLakota group, which is campaigning to defeat the school levy, has endorsed Etterling and O’Connor. Meanwhile, Hall is an 18-year-old Miami University student and 2010 graduate from Lakota East.
The race for township trustee has also been “a little ugly” according to incumbent George Lang.
“In this campaign, the people running against me got a little ugly and a little nasty,” said Lang after he voted this morning at the Ronald Reagan Lodge. “But in their defense, in this real conservative community – they couldn’t beat me on the issues, so their best chance was to attack my character.”
The incumbent claims his opponents have called him “unethical, immoral and untrustworthy.” He also claims that they are telling voters that Lang wants West Chester to be a city.
Lang denies those claims and acknowledges that “cityhood” is a big issue in this year’s trustee race. According to Lang, who wants West Chester to remain a township, fellow candidate William Zerkle wants West Chester to become a city soon and candidate Anthony Klimek wants to transition West Chester into a city.
While voters go to the polls and politicians greet them there, there is also a another side of Election Day that typically goes unseen.
Currently, volunteers at the Southwest Ohio Liberty Headquarters in West Chester, which was created by the Cincinnati Tea Party and the Ohio Liberty Council, will be calling potential voters until the polls close at 7:30 p.m. With lists from Columbus of registered voters, who have yet to vote, those volunteers are making a push for local voters to vote “yes” on Issue 2 and Issue 3.
For more information on the issues and races, visit WestChesterBuzz.com’s voter guide.
WestChesterBuzz.com will post live election results after the polls close at 7:30 p.m. from the Lakota levy viewing party tonight in West Chester.
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