CLEVELAND — In a little more than a week, Ohio voters will head to the polls—casting their ballot in races for mayor, school board, and all sorts of positions and issues in this non-presidential election.
It comes at a time where some voters question the legitimacy of the process, especially after the 2020 general election.
A recent poll done by CNN shows 52% of voters are not confident that election results reflect the will of the people.
Experts agree non-presidential elections typically see a lower turnout, but they also told News 5 that voter confidence could play a role.
“When people believe that their vote isn't going to count either because of gerrymandering or because they believe that somehow the election is going to be a fraudulent one, then their reaction is going to be 'why should I vote?'” said Iris Meltzer, President of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “Voter fraud is such a tiny percent of a percent in elections in the United States as to be virtually unmeasurable.”
Catherine Turcer serves as Executive Director at Common Cause Ohio, a nonpartisan nonprofit which aims to improve voter rights and participation.
“We need to be thinking about this as a crisis for democracy,” she said. “We need to do what we can to make sure voters know that elections work and how they work. We can’t forget money in politics. When we see a lot of dark money spent in elections, voters start to get turned off.”
It’s a concern Ohio's top election official follows closely. News 5 spoke with Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who reiterated how the state’s routine bi-partisan audit of this past election in 2020 showed a 99.98% statewide accuracy rate.
“Whether your favorite candidate wins or loses, you should know that Ohio's elections are honest,” he said. “It starts with bipartisan oversight of the process. Everything at the board of elections is overseen by Democrats and Republicans. Voting machines are never connected to the internet.”
Election day is set for Nov. 2.