Ohio voters to decide ballot issues, mayoral races

In this Tuesday, March 6, 2013 photo Cleveland city councilman Zack Reed appears in Municipal Court, in Cleveland. Reed is running for mayor of Cleveland. Frank Jackson hopes to win a record fourth four-year term as Cleveland’s mayor. He also faces a fellow Democrat, longtime east side Reed. (Marvin Fong/The Plain Dealer via AP)

By JULIE CARR SMYTH and DAN SEWELL, Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio voters will decide ballot issues on Tuesday that would place limits on drug prices and expand victims’ rights in criminal proceedings, along with several mayoral races.
While low voter turnout is typical in off-year elections, early voting figures in some counties indicate voter interest is higher than normal, particularly in city elections with incumbents facing spirited challenges. Democrats have continued to do well in large urban areas, while Republicans have dominated recent statewide votes led by Republican Donald Trump’s presidential win last year.
With TV ad blitzes, the statewide issues also have drawn interest.
Marsy’s Law for Ohio, or Issue 1, aims to expand crime victims’ rights to more closely match those of the accused. The proposed constitutional amendment assures that victims and their families receive notice of court proceedings, have input on plea deals and other rights.
Similar measures have seen pushback in some states where they’ve passed. Opponents cite unintended consequences, such as law enforcers halting the release of vehicle crash reports for fear it would be unconstitutional.
Reported spending on Issue 2 already has topped $65 million, making it the most expensive ballot campaign in Ohio history.
The Ohio Drug Price Relief Act seeks to curb prescription drug prices paid by the state for prisoners, injured workers and poor people.
An opposition campaign funded by the pharmaceutical industry says it would reduce access to medicines and raise prices for veterans and others.
Many cities, townships and villages have local elections Tuesday, and there are hundreds of communities with school levies and other local measures.
In Cleveland, Frank Jackson is seeking a record fourth, four-year term as mayor, opposed by fellow Democrat and longtime City Councilman Zack Reed. Jackson says he has steered the city through tough times, including the recession and housing crisis. Reed pledges to increase public safety, planning to hire hundreds more police officers.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley is seeking a second term against City Councilwoman Yvette Simpson, who led primary vote-getters. Both are Democrats. He claims “a proven track record of progress” for the city, while she said she has a strong vision that is more inclusive.
In Toledo, Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, a former city council president, is seeking her first full term after winning a special election two years ago. She’s up against Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz, who was endorsed by The Blade newspaper.
Sewell reported from Cincinnati.