Those wishing to cast ballots for the primary election will find several contested races as well as local issues.

However, those who have not already voted will need to submit their ballots through the mail for this election, after Gov. Mike DeWine canceled in-person voting March 17 in most locations in an effort to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Ohio General Assembly approved a plan to eliminate most in-person voting for the primary election and to extend absentee voting until April 28, and the Summit County Board of Elections is accepting requests for absentee ballots by mail. Voters must submit their request in writing and the request must have an original signature. No non-Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act applications will be accepted by email or fax. Voters can find the application at or they can call the board of elections at 330-643-5200 to request that an application be mailed to them.

Applications can be mailed to 470 Grant St., Akron, 44311 or dropped off at the board office at 470 Grant St. during business hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The deadline to request a ballot is noon on April 25 for most voters. Those who are unable to apply by that deadline because of an unforeseeable hospitalization may request a ballot by 3 p.m. on April 28. Completed ballots must be mailed back to the board of elections and must be postmarked by April 27.

Voters who have already voted and returned a ballot by mail or in person do not need to request a second ballot. All eligible ballots cast will be tabulated.

State and congressional races

Several Republicans are seeking to be the GOP nominee for the 13th congressional seat, currently held by Democrat Tim Ryan of Warren. Republicans on the primary ballot include Christina Hagan of Alliance; Duane Hennen of Warren; Louis G. Lyras of Campbell; Richard A. Morckel of Akron; Jason Mormando of Youngstown; Robert J. Santos of Youngstown; and Donald Truex of Rittman. The top vote-getter will face Ryan and Libertarian Michael Fricke of Kent in the Nov. 3 general election.

Republican challenger Mark Pitrone of Stow is running against incumbent David P. Joyce of Bainbridge in the primary for the 14th district congressional seat; the winner will run against Democrat Hillary O’Connor Mueri of Painesville in the fall.

Two Democrats – Aaron Paul Godfrey of Westlake and Ronald Karpus III of Parma Heights – are challenging each other for the 16th congressional seat in the primary; the winner will run against incumbent Republican Anthony Gonzales of Rocky River in the general election.

There are two Ohio Supreme Court justice seats open; incumbent Judy French faces challenger Jennifer Brunner, and incumbent Sharon L. Kennedy faces challenger John P. O’Donnell.

County races

There are four Democratic candidates for the sheriff’s seat; the top vote-getter will face Shane R. Barker of Macedonia in the fall. The Democrat challengers are Kandy Fatheree of Akron; Pat Hunt Sr. of Clinton; John R. Peake Sr. of Fairlawn; and Dale A. Soltis of Norton. Steve Barry, the incumbent sheriff, is not seeking reelection.

Two Democratic challengers aim to run against incumbent Republican Katarina Cook in November for Cook’s domestic relations court seat: Kani Hightower and Margaret Scott.

Local Issues

Summit County voters will decide a replacement and increase levy for the Summit County Metro Parks. The issue, if passed, would replace a current 1.46-mill existing levy, plus add 0.54 mill, for operational expenses at the parks, including maintenance, conservation and improvements on the trails. The levy would be effective for nine years.

Cuyahoga Falls voters will vote on the fate of a liquor permit submitted by T.S. Dining Group, which runs a restaurant and bar at 1846 Front Street.

Residents in the Aurora City School District will have the chance to vote on a 5.61-mill renewal levy for the district. If passed, the levy would be renewed for five years.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423,, or @AprilKHelms_RPC