Election Day is approaching and students on campus should keep their eyes on three main votes they will be asked to cast.
The youth vote turnout — defined as the age group 18-29 — is consistently low in the midterms, at 25 percent or lower in every midterm since 1998, according to political polling website FiveThirtyEight, but there is hope that with the current spotlight on politics that this year could be different.
In fact, many predictions, including one from the Washington Post, are pointing out that even modestly better turnout by youth voters in 2018 could swing the midterms.
Ohio State students have a chance to play a decisive role on Nov. 6 in a contested U.S. Senate seat, an open governorship and a crucial ballot issue.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has held his seat since he was elected in 2006 and will seek re-election for a third term, this time against Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci.
Brown is running on a familiar platform for a “jobs” Democrat: supporting working-class families in Ohio through bipartisan legislation and a longstanding opposition to free trade deals.
Renacci, meanwhile, is running as an unabashed supporter of President Donald Trump and on a platform of making sure Trump continues to receive the support he needs in the Senate.
The race has turned more and more to personal attacks, as was on display at the second debate, and a third and final debate is scheduled for Friday in Oxford, Ohio, on Miami University’s campus.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s Senate forecast, Brown is 12.8 points ahead of Renacci.
In a race that has remained much more cordial than its Senate counterpart, former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Democratic candidate Richard Cordray will face Ohio Attorney General Republican Mike DeWine in a race to fill the seat being vacated by term-limited Gov. John Kasich.
Cordray is running on a platform similar to Brown’s traditional Democrat style: addressing the opioid crisis, supporting small businesses, increasing health care access and reducing gun violence, among other issues.
Meanwhile, DeWine is also running near the middle, with a message familiar to Kasich’s with a focus on jobs and the economy, the opioid crisis and education in Ohio.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s Governor forecast, Ohio is a tossup with DeWine 1.3 points ahead of Cordray.
State Issue 1 proposes to help address the opioid epidemic and addiction troubles at large, by making nonviolent possession charges no more than misdemeanors, reduce the amount of drug offenders in prison and use saved money from reduced incarceration to fund treatment options.
Proponents of the initiative say it comes down to treating addiction like a disease and not a crime, while providing other states with similar laws as examples for how it can work.
Meanwhile, opponents say that the initiative will take power away from the justice system and undermine the efforts of solutions like drug courts.
Early voting is ongoing and will last until Nov. 5 at the Franklin County Board of Elections, which is located at 1700 Morse Road. Voting is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Oct. 25 to Oct. 26 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m on Oct. 27. From Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, the voting times will be from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with times in the three days before the election varying and available to view on the secretary of state’s website.
In-person voting will take place Nov. 6 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and students can find their polling location on the secretary of state’s website.