WAUSEON - Voter turnout across Fulton County is expected to be about 45 percent on Tuesday when issues will be decided and local officials elected.
Only a smattering of issues are on the general election ballot, but there are several highly contested races for village council seats in Fayette, Delta, and Lyons as well as for seats on the Archbold Area Schools board.
Kathy Meyer, director of the county's board of elections, said the number of absentee ballots - more than 600 - already is running ahead of her estimated 500 ballots.
The county has a near record number of registered voters at 29,933, she said. "It has never been that close to the 30,000 mark."
Of the registered voters based on the last primary, there are 7,847 Republicans, 7,176 Democrats, and 14,910 independents.
Overall, there is more voter awareness, she said, because information about absentee voting, voting machines, and other voter-related topics has been prominent in the news, prompting more people to register to vote.
And, she said, high schools are doing more to register students, such as through government classes.
Mrs. Meyer has a stack of voter registrations for students who aren't old enough to vote on Tuesday, but at age 17 they can vote in the primary for party candidates next year, providing the young voters will be 18 by November, 2010, she explained.
Tuesday's elections are nonpartisan.
Although this is considered an "off-year election," it is as important as the big elections, she said, noting a voter can make a significant impact by casting ballots for people who run local government, whether villages or townships, as well as school boards.
"A lot of people are still under the perception that one vote doesn't count," she said, "but it does count."
Contested races in Fulton County include:
Village of Delta, eight people are vying for three seats on council. They are: Rebecca Brehm; Robert Gilbert, Jr.; John Krauss; Jeffrey Mazurowski; Cheryl Swisher; Sandra Wanless, and incumbents Rose Butz and Keith Lantz.
Village of Fayette, six people are running for four council seats. They are: Paula Ferguson, Rodney Kessler, Thomas Molitierno, Eugene Rosinski, and incumbents Kenneth Delphous and Julia Ruger.
Village of Lyons, nine people are seeking four seats on council. They are: Andrea Gleckler, Joan Klier, John O'Neil, Lee Patterson, Ty O. Walker, Amanda Winters, and incumbents John Arquette, Julie Fenicle, and Dale Hallett.
Four seats are open on Metamora council, but only three candidates, incumbents, Cheryl Geer, Barbara Georgia, and Kenneth Wysong, are on the ballot.
Council seats in Wauseon, Archbold, and Swanton are uncontested.
In Archbold Area Schools, seven candidates are running for three seats. They are: John Lugbill, Phil Nofziger, Nimrod Rodriguez, Edward Schelling, and incumbents Roel Galvan, Cheryl Storrer, and Janet Wyse.
In the Pike-Delta-York school district, Harry Dermanelian and Todd Yoder and incumbents Gary Brehm and Donald Fogle are contending for two seats.
Four candidates are running for three seats on the Wauseon Exempted Village Schools board. They are incumbents Miriam Frank and Sandra Griggs and write-in candidates Anthony Rick Stidham and Dennis Cook.
Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Swanton school board. They are: Kristina Oberheim, John Schaller, Michelle Tyson, and Richard Ueberroth.
Contested township races include Dover Township, where two trustees will be elected from a field of five candidates. They are: John Arps, Todd Bingham, Steve Gustwiller, Shane Tanner, and incumbent Kenneth Clark.
In Gorham Township, where two trustees will be elected, incumbent William McKinney is one of four candidates. The rest of the slate is: Trevor Hibbard, Brian Keefer, and Matt Lumbrezer.
In Swancreek Township, there are four candidates for two trustee seats. They are: Rick Kazmierczak and Brian Meyer and incumbents Ronald Holdeman and Phil Wiland.
Issues include a renewal of a 1-mill cemetery maintenance levy in Amboy Township, a 1-mill renewal of a fire and rescue levy in Dover Township, and local options for the Kroger store in Swanton and for the Grasshopper El Chapulin restaurant in Wauseon.
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