EATON — Out of 27,060 registered voters in Preble County, only 12,849 cast ballots on Tuesday, March 15 — a total voter turnout of nearly 47.5 percent according to unofficial final statistics provided by the PC Board of Elections on election night.
According to Terri Hans, Preble County Board of Elections Director, absentee votes were higher this year. In 2008, 1,007 voted absentee; in 2012, 659 — this year there were 1,253 absentee ballots cast.
“I think the turnout was pretty darn good,” Hans said. “Primaries are tough. People don’t want to go out and declare their politics. For them to come out and declare their politics — we were impressed,” she said.
Preble County poll workers were faced with dealing with new voter verification equipment: electronic poll pads.
“We had a rough morning getting them started,” Hans said. “After everybody figured them out, we had board members out in the polling locations — voters were real pleased, precinct election officials were pleased with them. It sped things up.”
There were a few minor issues. At least one precinct wasn’t open on time, according to reports. At the time of this interview, Hans had not spoken with the poll workers there.
“I haven’t talked to that poll worker (yet) so I don’t know really what happened,” Hans said. “We had a board member, he was out, and he was there by ten til seven and there was no line. They had already voted. We’re not too sure what happened. Whatever people were standing there, they were already gone,” she said.
The official vote count will be done April 4, according to Hans.
Of the 2,287 Democratic ballots cast, 1,176 voters chose Hillary Clinton as their nominee for the presidential bid, while 1,046 thought they’d go with Bernie Sanders. Ted Strickland took the nomination for U.S. Senator with 1,393 votes.
Other races either had no Democratic candidates, or were uncontested.
On the Republican side, Warren Davidson took almost 31 percent of the Preble County vote to fill the unexpired term of John Boehner, and also the nomination to run for the seat in November. His closest competitor, Bill Beagle, took approximately 26 percent in both races. There will be a June 7 special election county-wide for the 8th Congressional District unexpired term.
Preble County also showed it was a Trump county, giving Donald Trump 4,776 of the 10,290 votes cast. His closest competitor, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, received 3,299. (Kasich went on to take the nomination in Ohio.)
Sen. Rob Portman too 79 percent of the vote in his race against Elijah Eckhart. Pat Fischer took the Preble County nomination for one Supreme Court Justice seat.
Stephanie Garrett, the incumbent, retained her State Central Committee position with 70.85 percent of the votes cast. Ellen Horton, another Preble County resident, received 29.15 percent.
Incumbents Chris Day and Denise Robertson won their respective races for Preble County Commissioner.
Other races were uncontested.
On the issue side of the ballot, the Village of West Alexandria’s additional 3-mill tax levy for Fire and Emergency Medical Services was approved, 246-192. Dixon Township residents approved all four levy renewals for Fire and Emergency Ambulance Services which appeared on their ballots. Twin Valley Local School District voters accepted an additional 2-mill levy for permanent improvements, 1,028-845. Two liquor sales measures for the Gratis Shell station were approved by voters in the village, and county voters accepted the tax levy for the Preble County General Health District, 7,173-4,888.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.