David Knox and Kiera Manion-Fischer
Next week’s election will be Medina County’s smallest primary election in at least a dozen years.
With contested candidate races only in the city of Wadsworth, two schools issues, two township fire levies and one village levy and a single local liquor option, polling places will be open for only 41 of the county’s 117 precincts.
“That’s the fewest precincts involved in a May primary election since 2000,” said Carol A. Lawler, director of the Medina County Board of Elections.
Lawler said the next smallest spring election was May 5, 2009, when voters in 45 precincts cast ballots.
Lawler cautioned that comparing precincts between elections can be misleading because the county last year reduced the number of precincts from 151 to 117.
But there’s no question that most Medina County voters won’t be casting ballot next week. The 41 precincts where the polls will be open have only about 41,000 registered voters — less than a third of the county’s more than 125,000 registered voters.
The small election may be good news for supporters of Cloverleaf and Black River school levies on the ballot.
That’s because school levies traditionally fare better in special elections, where there are no other competing issues on the ballot.
Angela Dudziak, a Homer Township resident and one of the core members of the Black River levy campaign, pointed out that in some precincts, the district’s 8.7-mill, five-year additional levy is the only issue on the ballot.
“At this point in time, I’m extremely optimistic about it passing,” she said.
Dudziak said she went door-to-door along with about 50 other volunteers over the weekend, and said the response “was promising.”
But Cloverleaf Superintendent Daryl Kubilus said he wasn’t sure if the small ballot would mean his district’s 7.9-mill, 10-year additional levy had a better shot at passing.
“There hasn’t been a precedent for this,” he said. “Typically in May there have been other ballot initiatives.”
The only other money issues on the ballot is a renewal fire levy in Montville Township, a replacement fire levy for the Town and County Fire District and a replacement operating levy for Chippewa Lake Village.
Lawler said this year’s primary would have been even smaller except for the contest in the Republican primary for Wadsworth’s at-large city council seats.
Because four candidates — Joseph A. Rodgers, Bob L. Thurber, Robert D. Titus and David L. Williams — are vying for three nominations, registered Republicans in all 15 precincts in the city will have a chance to cast ballots.
The only other contested race is in Wadsworth’s Ward 1, where Ralph J. Copley is challenging incumbent Timothy J. Eberling.
The city of Medina doesn’t have partisan primaries.
Brunswick does have partisan municipal races, but there is no primary this year because none of the races are contested.
Voters can cast early ballots at the Board of Elections office, 4210 N. Jefferson St., Medina, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today through Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.