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A guide to navigating Oxford’s general election ballot

This year’s general election is approaching quickly, with the polls opening Nov. 8. Here’s what’s on the ballot in Oxford.

What’s on the ballot?

Headlining the November ballot is the Ohio governor race, with current Republican Governor Mike DeWine facing off against former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, the Democratic nominee.

One U.S. Senator seat will be up for grabs in the election. Democratic nominee and Ohio Representative Tim Ryan will compete with Trump-endorsed Republican nominee and author JD Vance.

Oxford falls into the 47th House District, which also includes Hamilton. Republican Representative Sara Carruthers and 19-year-old Democratic nominee and Miami University student Sam Lawrence are competing for state representative for the district.

Ohio also has two state issues on this year’s ballot.

State Issue one will require judges to consider public safety, the seriousness of an offense and the criminal record of the defendant when setting a criminal defendant’s bail.

State Issue two will prevent non-U.S. citizens from voting in local elections. Ohio has allowed its local governments to make these decisions, but if the issue passes, Ohio will change its constitution to only allow U.S. citizens to vote in local elections.

Currently, only one municipality, Yellow Springs, has allowed non-U.S. citizens to vote in local elections.

For those who live within the Talawanda School District, the school has a levy on the ballot that, if passed, will generate $4.8 million a year for the school district. The levy will increase property taxes by $199.50 annually for every $100,000 in assessed value.

The full list for Butler County’s ballot can be found online.

Why should you vote?

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At the Oct. 4 City Council meeting, Councilor Glenn Ellerbe expressed hope that Miami students would register for the election.

“A lot of students don’t know this, but because you have housing here in Oxford for the majority of the year, you are eligible to register here to vote,” Ellerbe said. “I highly recommend anybody who has an interest in their civic duty here in Oxford, please go out and register to vote.”

Reena Murphy, a graduate student within Miami’s Wilks Institute for Leadership and Service, has been working to promote civic engagement among students. Murphy said the institute is achieving this through tabling events, programs focused on why voting matters and boxes to collect student voter registration forms.

Murphy said voting is important for people to express their beliefs.

“Your vote has power,” Murphy said. “It is a formal way to express your opinion on local leadership, state leadership, federal leadership and for you to see your values and priorities aligned with the candidate you vote for. One of the reasons that matters so much to young people is we are quickly becoming one of the largest voting blocks in the country.”

Cameron Tiefenthaler, the Associated Student Government’s secretary for governmental relations, wants people to know the impact voting locally can have.

“One of the most important things that gets overlooked is the level of decisions that are made at the local level,” Tiefenthaler said. “If you have qualms that you have potholes or that you don’t have a streetlight on your street or there’s something that you don’t like about the way that the school board is currently operating, that’s a decision that you can have a direct impact on.”

Murphy and Tiefenthaler both said voters should do research on the people they’re electing. Murphy suggests requesting an absentee ballot, so voters can look up the issues they’re voting on as they go. Tiefenthaler suggests voters interact with the people they’re electing to understand their opinions.

When, where and how do you vote?

Figuring out what to vote on is entirely up to you, but figuring out how to do it is a different task.

A 2022 study titled “Cost of Voting in the American States” ranked Ohio 10th for states with the most barriers to voting.

Early in-person voting and absentee voting began Oct. 12. Early voting times and requests for ballots by mail can also be found on the Secretary of State’s website.

Noon on Nov. 5 is the deadline to request an absentee ballot and mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 7. Absentee ballots can also be turned in to the Butler County Board of Elections by 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 8.

The general election begins at 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 8 and ends at 7:30 p.m. Polling places include Talawanda High School and Miami’s Marcum Hotel & Conference Center. Residents can find their specific voting places at the Butler County Board of Elections website.