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Voter Registration Ends Monday: Take A Sneak Peek Of The Ballot

Voting sign at Burbank Elementary School in Upper Arlington, one of many polling locations for the 15th congressional district special elections.
Michael Lee
Voting sign at Burbank Elementary School in Upper Arlington, one of many polling locations for the 15th congressional district special elections on Aug. 3, 2021.

Voter registration ends today, a month before Central Ohioans will make some important decisions around their community. Some races and measures are ones they might watch out for when the election comes around.

Ohio's 15th Congressional District

Residents of Ohio's 15th congressional district will vote for former representative Steve Stivers' replacement. Democrat Allison Russo and Republican Mike Carey will run against each other after winning their respective primaries in August. The district covers cities like Upper Arlington, Hilliard, Grove City and Grandview Heights.

“I’m going to be out there talking to voters about issues that matter to them,” Russo said in an interview with WOSU after she won. “Things like talking about good-paying jobs, affordable health care, quality education and making sure that all Ohioans in this district have an opportunity to build a future here.”

August's special election primary came after Stivers announced his resignation from Congress in April for a position as the president and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

"For the past decade, It has been my honor and privilege to serve the people of Ohio's 15th Congressional District," Stivers tweeted in April.

School Board Elections

The ballot will also include various city council positions across Central Ohio, but also local school board elections. Districts like Hilliard City Schools, Olentangy Local Schools and Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools have candidates running on platforms against mask mandate.

Candidates like Hilliard's Beth Murdoch said she believes in parent's choice when it comes to whether students should be masked in school, and that it's what she's heard from the community.

"I believe that we need to address the concerns and issues that the community are bringing up," she said.

But other candidates like Nikki Hudson — who's running for re-election on Worthington's school board — continue to support the mandates, and said she supports the science and guidance for wearing masks.

“It’s not that the parent voice doesn’t matter, and I want to be very clear about that," Hudson said. "It is at the end of the day your responsibility as board members to make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the student.”

Ballot Issue 7, Green Energy Initiative

For Columbus residents, they will get to vote on a citizen-led, controversial green energy ordinance that would give a total of $97 million to green energy initiatives related to energy conservation, funds for minority clean energy businesses and reduction of electricity costs for city residents.

However, council members oppose the ordinance, and were required by the Ohio Supreme Court to put it on November's ballot.

In an interview with WOSU in June, council member Rob Dorans said the group that petitioned for the initiative were not specific about where the money would go, which is why the council members were skeptical about it and denied the initial petition request.

"We think this is bad public policy, we don't think this is good for the citizens of Columbus, we don't think this is good for our budgets, this is not good for clean energy development," Dorans said.

The group that petitioned for it was also part of the controversy. Last December, John A. Clark, who was part of the initiative for the ordinance, was indicted with two counts of election falsification and two counts of tampering with records.

Michael Lee joined WOSU in 2021, but was previously an intern at the station in 2018. He is a graduate from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism where he obtained his master's degree, and an alumnus of Ohio State University. Michael has previously worked as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch and most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times.