Local voters must do their homework

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Voters in Lawrence County, and especially Ironton, may feel like they are taking a test when they go to the polls in November so we urge everyone to do their homework.

The sheer bulk of questions facing voters may overwhelm some people. Local residents will likely be asked to weigh-in on tax levies, the statewide economy and legislative reform.

All are important and it is crucial voters do as much research as possible before they are asked to make decisions that could have long-lasting effects on our government, economy and community.

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On a state level, it appears that at least four issues will appear on the ballot. Reform Ohio Now, a coalition of labor unions and community groups, filed three petitions Tuesday with Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell that will load up the ballot.

One issue would change the way congressional and legislative districts are drawn throughout the state in efforts to eliminate either party from having a clear advantage. Another proposed issue would create a state elections board to oversee the process in Ohio, something that has become highly debated following last year's election.

The third would lower the individual limit on campaign contributions. Officials said petition circulators had collected more than enough signatures.

The three issues come hot on the heels of last week's announcement to put on the ballot a $2 billion bond package that would focus on construction, economic development and job creation. Despite the state's recent scandals and poor spending, we believe voters must look at the big picture and support this plan.

Locally, some voters will have almost as many issues to consider in addition to a large number of school board, township and municipality races. All Lawrence County voters will be asked to consider a countywide law enforcement levy to fund the sheriff's office.

Ironton voters will have a larger plate to consider.

City residents will likely be asked to decide on a tax levy for new schools, a levy to fund the city’s floodwall system. It now appears that a municipal fee could end up on the ballot as well.

Supporters and foes will likely try to make good cases both for and against each one of these issues and we just hope residents take the time to consider each and every one individually and don't just run down the list and say, "No, no. no."

If voters try to just "wing it," Ohio and Lawrence County could end up with "Fs" on its reports card.