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An Ohio voting sticker placed on the window of the Board of Elections in Athens, Ohio, Aug. 30, 2023.

Guide to the 2024 primaries, their importance

The primaries are approaching and Ohio University students will vote on the Republican and Democratic local, state and federal candidates for the November election with presidential candidates likely being a rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

"Primaries allow political parties to nominate candidates for various offices who will run in the general election in November," Associate Professor of Political Science Kevin Spiker said. 

Elections will be locally held for people to vote for whoever is in their registered political party on March 19 and the deadline to register is Feb. 20. To register to vote or check voter registration, visit Ohio’s voter registration system

“If (Ohio University students) do not want to see a particular candidate get to the general election, they need to vote,” Dan Gordillo, governmental affairs commissioner for Student Senate, said. “The right to vote is essential to being an American, and exercising that right is essential to having a thriving democracy.”

Not only do primaries nominate a candidate for the presidential election, but they also – depending on location – elect local positions, state offices and congressional seats. 

“All members of Ohio's congressional delegation to the House of Representatives, school boards, (and) things like that that are incredibly important,” Spiker said. “Entities that we don't equate them to the importance of the presidency but still have a tremendous practical effect and importance in the day-to-day lives of Ohio.”

Spiker said the rematch of Trump and Biden will likely happen, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t still vote in the primaries.

“Turnout is still important,” Spiker said. “Yes, the presidential race will (likely be Trump and Biden) but, you still have critical races for what we call the down-ballot – races below the presidential level – as I mentioned, the Senate, state and local races.”

According to a sample ballot from the Athens Board of Elections, the Democratic ballot will contain a deciding vote for Biden or U.S. Representative Dean Phillips for the presidential nomination; Lisa Forbes or Terri Jamison for Ohio Supreme Court Justice; Beth Clodfelter or Taylor Sappington for Athens county treasurer. 

The Democratic ballot has only one choice for the following: Sherrod Brown for U.S. Senator; Jerrad Christian for Congress representative; Michael Donnelly for Ohio Supreme Court Justice; Melody Stewart for Ohio Supreme Court Justice; Iva Faber for state senator; Lish Greiner for state representative; Charlie Adkins for Athens county commissioner; Chris Chmiel for Athens county commissioner; Keller Blackburn for Athens prosecuting attorney; Candy Russell for Athens clerk of the court; Rodney Smith for Athens county sheriff; Jessica Markins for Athens county recorder; Jeff Maiden for Athens county engineer.

The Republican ballot will contain a deciding vote for Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie or Ron Desantis for the presidential nomination; Matt Dolan, Frank LaRose or Bernie Moreno for U.S. senator; Nichole Hunter or Khadine Ritter for woman member of state central committee; Don Jones or Nelson Roe for state representative.

The Republican ballot only has one choice for the following: Troy Balderson for Congress representative; Megan Shanahan for Ohio Supreme Court Justice; Joseph Deters for Ohio Supreme Court Justice; Daniel Hawkins for Ohio Supreme Court Justice; Jason Smith for Court of Appeals Judge; Mike Hess for Court of Appeals Judge; Jim Carnes for man member of state central committee; Brian Chavez for state senator; Peter Couladis for member of county central committee.

A vote for the tax levy, which will support senior citizens' facilities, is on both Democratic and Republican ballots.

Students living in dorms will vote at Baker University Center, except for students in Bromley and Voigt Hall, who will vote at First Presbyterian Church, 2 N. Court St.

Students living off campus can look here for their polling location. Anyone registered to vote in Athens can vote at the Athens County Board of Elections, 15 S. Court St. 


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