By Kevin Pierson
The Marietta Times
With only a handful of contested races on either the Republican or Democratic ballots for the 2012 primary, local levies and the presidential race seem to be drawing the most interest from local voters.
Marietta Township voters will vote on approval of a 0.5-mill renewal fire and emergency levy, with a 3.25-mill replacement levy with an increase for emergency services to benefit the Reno Volunteer Fire Department also on the ballot. The renewal levy is currently operating at an effective rate of 0.46 mills while the replacement levy is currently a 1-mill levy operating at an effective rate of 0.92 mills.
Voters in the Marietta City Schools district will vote on renewal of an 8.5-mill current expense and 2.95-mill permanent improvements levy while Wolf Creek Local Schools has a renewal of a 5.76-mill emergency levy on the ballot. Marietta's expense levy is currently operating at an effective rate of 7.75 mills while the permanent improvement levy is at 2.69 mills.
Poll hours, etc.
You can vote from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
To see ballots and for updates results and information: electionsonthe.net/oh/washington.
At a glance
A look at the key issues facing Washington County voters:
Voters in the Wolf Creek Local School District will vote on the renewal of a 5.76-mill emergency levy.
Voters in Marietta Township will vote on a 3.25-mill replacement and increase levy to support the emergency squad at the Reno Volunteer Fire Department.
Voters in the Marietta City school district will vote on renewal of a 2.95-mill permanent improvement levy.
Voters in the Marietta City School district will vote on renewal of a 8.5 mill-levy (effective rate 7.75 mills) for the purpose of current expenses.
Republican voters will vote for county commissioner with David White, David Locke and Steven W. Weber running for one position.
In the 6th Congressional District, Republican voters have two candidates in Waterford resident Victor Smith and Marietta resident Bill Johnson. Democrats also have two candidates in Charlie Wilson, of St. Clairsville, and Cas Adulewicz, of Steubenville.
Democrats will vote in the 95th District state representative race between Jim Drake, William N. Weekley and Charlie Daniels.
Republicans will vote in the 94th District state representative race between Micah E. Martindale and Charles Richter.
The effective rate is different from the millage on the ballot due to an increase in property values, which has decreased the required millage to generate the same income.
The Reno levy will fund round-the-clock emergency medical squad service and was listed as the key issue for many voters in the area.
"I will be voting for the fire levy. We all need ambulances once in a while," said Connie Arnold, 68, of Reno.
The Reno levy was also the most notable ballot issue for Allan Tubaugh, 51, of Reno, but not the only one.
"That's the big one for now. I guess you've got the presidential candidates for the Republicans," Tubaugh said.
Republicans will be casting ballots in a presidential primary in which no clear-cut front runner has emerged.
Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul all remain hopefuls for the Republican nomination. According to publicpolicypolling.com, Romney holds a slight advantage over Santorum in Ohio with 37 percent of the vote opposed to 36 percent, respectively. Gingrich has 15 percent in Ohio and Paul 11 percent, the website says.
The presidential race will be on the ballot in 11 state on Super Tuesday and draws considerable attention from local voters - even some who don't consider themselves staunch Republicans.
"I don't like what's happening nationally. I'm not as much a Republican as I am a conservative constitutionalist," said Mel Samples, of Barlow.
Like many voters across the country, Samples said he has yet to make up his mind who will get his vote.
"It'll probably be Santorum. Santorum or Gingrich. I don't know. I'll have to make up my mind," Samples said.
Ron Wright, 65, of Marietta, said the Republican presidential race is also what has him going to the polls today, where he'll cast his ballot for Romney.
"I just want to see Republicans in office," Wright said. "I think (Romney) stands the best chance to beat (President Barack) Obama."
Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Monday if mailed, and if delivered by hand they must be brought to the Board of Elections by 7:30 p.m. today. Voters cannot take an absentee ballot to a precinct to deliver.
Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. today. Washington County has 30 voting precincts.
Results from today's primary can be viewed online electionsonthe.net/oh/washington.