Thursday, Jul 28, 2016
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Crowded field fails to spark turnout; 15.4% cast ballots in Toledo primary

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    Charlotte Washington casts her ballot at the polling place inside Beverly Elementary School.

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  • Primary-Election-turnout-REVISE

    Voter turnout for Toledo mayoral candidates.

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Editor's Note: This version corrects the wards won by D. Michael Collins and Joe McNamara.


Charlotte Washington casts her ballot at the polling place inside Beverly Elementary School.

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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Could the turnout get any lower than it was in Tuesday's primary election in Toledo?

Yes. Check out the city of Maumee.

Only 15.4 percent of Toledo registered voters participated in the election. In Maumee, only 11 percent of voters turned out.

The difference was that Toledo voters had a much larger field of mayoral candidates and council candidates to choose among. In Maumee, only one candidate was lopped out of the field for council, and there was no mayoral primary.

Primaries are held in municipalities only when there are more than twice as many candidates running for the offices of mayor and council.

Sylvania and Oregon did not have enough candidates to require mayoral or council primary elections.

Of Toledo’s 24 wards, the one with the highest turnout percentage was Ward 16, covering South Toledo neighborhoods between Detroit Avenue and the Maumee River, with 1,832 voters and 25.4 percent voter participation. Coming in second was Ward 7, made up of suburban-style residential neighborhoods along Heatherdowns Boulevard and Glendale Avenue, with 1,534 voters and turnout of 23.7 percent.

Those with the lowest participation were Ward 19 with 295 voters and turnout of 8 percent, and Ward 2 in North Toledo, with 299 voters and 6.2 percent turnout.


Voter turnout for Toledo mayoral candidates.

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Mayor Mike Bell carried Ward 8, which includes downtown, and Ward 10, which has the Old West End and Uptown neighborhoods. He also picked up his own ward, 12, which includes Old Orchard; Ward 22, which includes the Westfield Franklin Park Mall, and Ward 16.

No candidate won an outright majority in any of Toledo’s 24 wards. Democratic Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez, who would have had a chance to be the city’s first Hispanic mayor, came closest, winning 48 percent of Ward 17. It includes the Broadway corridor, home of a large number of Mexican-Americans and where Ms. Lopez grew up.

The Lopez campaign was strongest in wards with the highest number of African-American and Latino voters in the central City, the Old South End, the Old North End, East Toledo, and Dorr Street.

Councilman D. Michael Collins was the top vote-getter in Ward 7, which is where he and Ms. Lopez live, as well as other districts considered middle-class, white districts: wards 1, 3, and 11, neighborhoods north of Sylvania Avenue and east of Douglas Road, and Ward 23, centering on the Trilby neighborhood at Alexis and Tremainsville roads. He also won the South and Southwest Toledo wards of 5 and 24. A believer in door-knocking and sign-waving, Mr. Collins went door-to-door and stood on busy streets in those wards.

he only ward won by Democratic Councilman Joe McNamara was 20 in East Toledo.

Comparing wards based on turnout doesn’t begin to describe the difference in voter participation. For example, Ward 19 — the central part of East Toledo — has 3,706 registered voters, of which 295 voted, for a participation rate of 8 percent.

At the opposite extreme is Ward 23, with twice as many registered voters — 9,283 — and more than four times as many voters turning out —1,374 — as Ward 19.

Contact Tom Troy at:

or 419-724-6058.

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