Despite Midterm Buzz, Voter Registration in Northeast Ohio Shows Modest Increase

Richard Cordray and Mike DeWine stand at a blue table shaking hands.
Richard Cordray and Mike DeWine tussled over healthcare, drug sentencing laws and support for local government in their third gubernatorial debate Monday night. [ideastream]
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A new poll released Tuesday by Baldwin Wallace University suggests nearly 59 percent of Ohioans who plan to vote this November say the upcoming midterms are more important than previous ones.

There is some evidence of that sentiment in Northeast Ohio voter rolls. Although the final tally won't be known for a week or so, elections officials in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina, Lake, Geauga and Portage counties report that, as of Tuesday, the last day to register to vote, voter rolls are slightly higher than they were during the 2014 midterm election. 

A deeper look at the registration numbers shows that the increase is relatively modest. Nearly all are within a percent or two of where they were in 2010, the last time Ohio saw a competitive gubernatorial race. And, as of Tuesday, Cuyahoga County's voter rolls stood at just under 900,000—about 8 percent lower than it was in 2010.

Nevertheless, Paul Adams, director of the Lorain County Board of Elections, said he's noticed a slight bump in registration over the past few months.

"Various groups are out pushing voter registration specifically, and it appears to be making a difference," Adams said.

One driving factor, he said, may be the tight gubernatorial contest between Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray.

"Polls show that that race is going to be close," Adams said. "I think that is something that is energizing the base of both political parties to go out and register their voters."

Adams said the number of registered voters is over 212,000 in Lorain County--about 1.6 to 4 percent higher than it was in the two previous midterms. 

But, of course, the real test of how voters are feeling will be Election Day itself.

Below are the voter registration numbers by county as reported by elections officials on October 9, 2018*, along with registration numbers from previous midterm Election Days.

Cuyahoga County 

2018: 899,886*

2014: 886,098

2010: 978,267

2006: 1,054,670

Summit County 

2018: Data not available at publication time.

2014: 358,116

2010: 371,028

2006: 373,447

Lorain County 

2018: 212,000+*

2014: 203,718

2010: 208,660

2006: 190,767

Lake County 

2018: 157,886*

2014: 153,704

2010: 157,732

2006: 153,736

Medina County 

2018: 124,194*

2014: 122,847

2010: 125,684

2006: 122,097

Portage County 

2018: 108,839*

2014: 104,943

2010: 110,446

2006: 103,718

Geauga County 

2018: 66,439*

2014: 64,248

2010: 65,507

2006: 63,288

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Baldwin Wallace poll was released Monday. It was released Tuesday. 

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