Just 25% of voters cast their ballots

Few problems reported at polls

Dave Fitzpatrick looks over his choices as he casts his vote at Garfield Elementary in East Toledo. Only a quarter of Lucas County’s registered voters turned out Tuesday.
Dave Fitzpatrick looks over his choices as he casts his vote at Garfield Elementary in East Toledo. Only a quarter of Lucas County’s registered voters turned out Tuesday.

Few problems were reported during general election voting in Lucas County on Tuesday, but voter turnout was only 25.9 percent.

A total of 80,995 registered voters cast ballots from a possible field of 311,647. In 2009, the last mayoral race, turnout was 37.5 from 314,632 registered voters.

Early in the day, at Grace Lutheran Church, poll worker Mile Floyd said several of the 23 polling stations were down and that officials had not been out to fix them.

Andy Cherry, who voted at the Monroe Street church, said his biggest issue was figuring out where he was supposed to vote.

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The board of elections combined two locations — Grace Lutheran and Hampton Park Christian Church — and Mr. Cherry used to vote at the latter.

Poll workers at other locations were mostly surprised by the lack of people who turned out on the overcast day with temperatures hovering in the low 50s.

Several said they expected a large turnout because of Toledo’s hotly contested mayoral race.

Voting for mayor was one of the major reasons Dave Fitzpatrick showed up at Raymer Elementary School in East Toledo.

Mr. Fitzpatrick said he voted for incumbent Mike Bell because Toledo has managed to maintain some financial solvency.

“That’s one of the only reasons I voted for him,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said. “He seemed to do a pretty good job of keeping us from going bankrupt.”

For Vickie Wohlgamuth, who also voted at Raymer, the Toledo Public Schools renewal levy was her drive to get out and cast her ballot.

Ms. Wohlgamuth has a daughter, Emily, in third grade at the school.

“I want to make sure she has what she needs to succeed in life,” Ms. Wohlgamuth said.

Although there were few technical errors, there did not seem to be a shortage of Election Day drama.

At Our Lady of Perpetual Help in South Toledo, volunteers were told not to campaign on the property, said Stephanie Eichenberg, treasurer for Chris Varwig, a candidate for the Toledo Board of Education.

Mrs. Eichenberg said the Rev. David Ritchie told her, “This is private property and we want you to leave,” after she’d been there for about two hours. She was more than 100 feet from the entrance — in compliance with Ohio law — and decided to stay.

Dan DeAngelis said he’d not heard about campaign staff being asked to leave the church, but said, “It’s Election Day. If they’re outside that 100-foot [range] as the statute requires, we would hope they would be allowed to campaign since it’s a polling location.”

When asked about campaigners, Father Ritchie said, “I have an ongoing issue. I don’t want to comment.”

Sally Oberski, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, said the “issue” stems from the primaries when a poll worker reportedly sped through the parking lot where school children were playing and “was cussing out kids and the football coach.”

Ms. Oberski said campaigners weren’t the issue, but rather the priest wanted to ensure the safety of the children.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.