City could spend $15K on special election

Kristine Gill

Cost higher, turnout lower because of single issue ballot and cold weather

Kent City Council is waiting on the final bill and the final tally for last week’s special election, which saw a 10.5 percent voter turnout. While the results won’t be finalized until Jan. 27, five members of the council won the recall election based on unofficial results.

“There are not enough ballots out to make a difference in the results of the election,” said Lois Enlow, deputy director of the Portage County Board of Elections. “What we’re waiting for are any military or overseas ballots. They have until 10 days after the election to come back. Then, provisional ballots.”

Enlow said Tuesday’s turnout was low even for a special election, most likely due to weather and the small number of issues on the ballot.

“It was the coldest we’ve had in years,” she said. “People aren’t going to go out for one election.”

Board of Elections director Glenda Enders said they don’t have a final cost for the election, but it should total about $15,000. Enders said bills for certain services required for the election are still coming in.

Having so few issues on the special election ballot made Tuesday’s turnout low and the overall cost for the election higher.

“You have to pay for everything. In regular elections, costs are divided among subdivisions, townships and cities,” Enders said. “If you had 50 issues on the ballot, it would be a lot cheaper than if you had three.”

None of the wards are comprised entirely of student voters, but Enlow said student turnout was typical, adding that it was difficult to gauge because the spring semester had not started at the time of the election.

Wards 4A and 5C are made up of mostly student voters. Those wards saw a .75 and 1.3 percent turnout, respectively.

Kent citizens first circulated petitions in September to recall the council members who voted to place a .5 percent income tax reduction for those Kent residents who work outside the city. Council later amended their decision, but the petitions received sufficient signatures based on city council policy to hold a special election. Tuesday’s winners include Jack Amrhein for Ward 2, Heidi Shaffer for Ward 5, Tracy Wallach for Ward 6 and members-at-large Michael DeLeone and Rick Hawksley.

Contact public affairs reporter Kristine Gill at [email protected].