Proof is clear: Each vote really does matter
If you’ve ever had a doubt that every vote counts, look no further than the results of two Mahoning Valley issues in last month’s general election.
In Trumbull County’s Farmington Township, a 2.5-mill, five-year additional road levy passed in the Nov. 2 election by just one vote. Results of the race, following recounts by hand and automated, were certified recently as a 173-172 win for the new tax.
The win means the owner of a $100,000 home will pay $87.50 more in taxes per year for the next five years, and the tax will generate $115,300 per year to be spent on road, street and bridge repairs in the township, along with street resurfacing and construction.
“It should show people, for sure, that every vote counts,” Stephanie Penrose, director of the Trumbull County Board of Elections, said.
Indeed, it does.
Often, we hear residents bemoan that their votes just don’t matter. Many don’t bother to turn out on Election Day.
This year’s general election, in fact, saw only a 22.37 percent turnout in Trumbull County. Of the 136,362 registered voters in the county, only 30,507 of them voted Nov. 2. In Farmington Township, just 345 people voted on the road levy in question.
Had there been a better turnout in Farmington Township, perhaps the results of this issue could have been different.
Meanwhile, in the village of Sebring in nearby Mahoning County, an additional 2-mill parks and recreation levy, which was winning on the night of the election by a single vote, ultimately ended in a tie — meaning it failed.
A recent recount determined the issue remained tied at 355. In Ohio, issues must receive a majority vote to pass, board of elections officials said.
The tax levy would have generated $104,000 annually for five years. The owner of a $100,000 home would have paid $70 more in taxes per year.
In Mahoning County, 25.07 percent of registered voters cast ballots Nov. 2. Of the 163,339 voters registered in that county, that’s only 40,951 ballots cast.
In Sebring, 710 voters cast ballots on the parks issue that ended in a tie. Ironically, two other issues on the ballot in the village saw a larger number of votes cast. A total of 717 votes were cast on a 3-mill fire levy. And 726 votes were cast on a 1-mill recreational levy. Both of those levies, which were renewals, passed easily.
A handful of these voters, however, inexplicably opted not to vote on the additional parks and recreation levy. Had just one of those voters checked the box while at the polls, it would have made the difference.
With opportunities to vote early, typically for about a month before Election Day, and even to cast ballots by mail in Ohio, there really is no excuse not to become informed and vote your conscience.
At the end of the day, we all have heard the saying that every vote matters. Whether you agree or disagree with passage of these true grass-roots election issues or any other close races and issues in any election, it’s clear that every vote really does matter.