Trish Bennett, Editor
CIRCLEVILLE – Local residents who plan to vote in the March 15 primary have less than a week to register with the Pickaway County Board of Elections.
Voters must be registered by Feb. 16, according to Michele Lockard, director of the Pickaway County BOE. Voters already registered also are urged to make any necessary updates to their voting address before that time.
The registration deadline to vote in the November general election is Oct. 11.
Lockard said the BOE also reminds voters they must declare a party in order to vote for candidates in the March primary election.
“In Ohio, there will be a Democrat ballot, a Republican ballot, a Green Party ballot and then one for issues only,” Lockard said. “There is not an Independent ‘party,’ so there is no primary for Independent candidates. If you don’t want to be affiliated with a political party, you’re only able to vote on the issues in March, and then you’ll vote on candidates in the full general election in November.”
The main issue on the March 15 ballot is the renewal of a levy that maintains and provides benefits for Pickaway County senior citizens for five years commencing in 2016 and first due in the calendar year 2017.
A small number of Pickaway County voters also will decide on a proposed income tax and bond issue for the Adena Local School District.
The Presidential race is expected to draw a large number of voters this year, along with races for U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress, the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives. Additionally, voters will choose Justices for the Ohio Supreme Court, along with a judge for the Court of Appeals and members of the state and county Central Committees.
A complete list of candidates and issues, along with voter registration information, can be found on the Pickaway County Board of Elections website.
Locally, the only contested race on the March 15 ballot is between Democrats John Ankrom and Keith Peters for Pickaway County Commissioner for the term beginning Jan. 3, 2017. The winner of that race in March then will face Republican incumbent Brian Stewart on the November ballot.
Republican incumbent Harold Henson and Democrat challenger Warren Spangler will run unopposed on March 15 but will face each other on the November ballot for the Pickaway County Commissioner term beginning Jan. 2, 2017. A third candidate, Michael Parks, also has declared his intention to run as an Independent for this seat but has until the day before the primary (March 14) to officially file with the Board of Elections. As an Independent, Parks will not appear on the March primary ballot.
The race for Pickaway County Sheriff will see incumbent Sheriff Robert Radcliff, a Democrat, squaring off against William Jason Lawless, a Republican, in November. The two will run unopposed, however, in the March primary.
Ellery Elick, Republican incumbent Pickaway County Treasurer, and challenger Jan Shannon, a Democrat, also will run unopposed in March but face each other in the November general election.
The same is true for James Dean, Republican incumbent Pickaway County Clerk of Courts, and Thomas Clark Zwayer, challenging Democrat, who will run unopposed in March but face each other in November.
Additional local candidates running unopposed in March and November are Judy Wolford, Pickaway County Prosecutor; Dr. John Ellis, Pickaway County Coroner; Chris Mullins, Pickaway County Engineer; and Joyce Gifford, Pickaway County Recorder.
Independent candidates for any of these positions may still file petitions by March 14 to be included on the ballot for November’s general election. Write-in candidates have until Aug. 29 to file declarations of intent.
Early and absentee voting for the March primary begins Feb. 17, the day following the voter registration deadline. Lockard said the local Board of Elections will offer extended hours leading up to Election Day. A list of extended hours can be found here.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal