Friday, November 1, 2002

Prediction: Fewer than half will vote

Campaign notebook

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Fewer than half of Ohio's voters may go to the polls Tuesday.

Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell predicts that 3.3 million (47 percent) of Ohio's 7.1 million registered voters will participate in the general election.

In the most recent gubernatorial general election, 1998, ballots were cast by 3.5 million (49.81 percent) of Ohio's 7 million registered voters.

The turnout prediction is based on information provided to the secretary of state by county boards of elections.

Local board predictions:

Butler County: 210,920 registered voters; 44 percent predicted turnout.

Clermont County: 117,207 registered voters; 38 percent predicted turnout.

Hamilton County: 522,307 registered voters; 55 percent predicted turnout.

Warren County: 101,207 registered voters; 56 percent predicted turnout.

Praying for schools

There may not be any prayer in schools, but that doesn't mean people aren't praying for schools.

The Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati is organizing a prayer service Sunday in support of the Cincinnati Public Schools' bond issue.

The flashlight service starts at 5:30 p.m. at the books fountain at the downtown public library on Vine Street between Eighth and Ninth streets.

Businesses contribute

The issue-advocacy group Citizens for a Strong Ohio has announced its second list of donors to a campaign that has produced radio ads supporting the re-election of Republican Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton.

The campaign is financed mostly by insurers, manufacturers and business trade organizations. Ms. Stratton is opposed by Democratic Judge Janet Burnside of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

The group includes local companies such as Ashland ($15,000); Cinergy ($2,500); Fifth Third Bank ($25,000), and Procter & Gamble ($75,000).

Arguing over savings

With less than a week before the election, neither side of Ohio's controversial Issue 1 ballot question can agree on how much the drug treatment proposal will cost taxpayers.

In a debate at the Columbus City Club Wednesday, the two sides squared off over the proposed constitutional amendment that would allow eligible non-violent drug offenders to choose treatment instead of jail time.

Ed Orlett, director of the Ohio Campaign for New Drug Policies, the group supporting Issue 1, reasserted his belief it will save the state millions in tax dollars.

Mr. Orlett said it costs $23,000 a year to keep one person in prison, while an individual can be treated for $3,500 a year instead.

Dwaine Hemphill, a magistrate for the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, said Mr. Orlett overestimates incarceration costs and underestimates the cost of treatment.

He said the proposed amendment is dangerous because it would let many offenders, who are not interested in treatment, manipulate the system to avoid jail or prison.

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