- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The latest developments in Ohio’s general election as voters decide issues including whether to legalize marijuana.

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12:55 a.m.

Former city council president and current Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson will finish out the term of the Toledo mayor who died last February.

The Democrat claimed victory in the special election Tuesday, emerging from a field of seven candidates.

She will serve the two years remaining in the term of D. Michael Collins, who died after suffering cardiac arrest.

Hicks-Hudson was sworn in as mayor following Collins’ death. She had the endorsement of the local Democratic party and several influential labor unions in the city.

On Tuesday, she topped a crowded field that included Collins’ widow and former Toledo mayors Carty Finkbeiner and Mike Bell.

Hicks-Hudson tells WTVG-TV that she wants to work get good jobs in Toledo, fix the local roads and keep the city moving forward.

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12:30 a.m.

Celebrity investor Nick Lachey (luh-SHAY’) has tweeted that he doesn’t agree with Ohio voters’ decision to reject marijuana legalization but he respects the democratic process.

The former boy band star says “change takes time.”

The measure known as Issue 3 included a proposal for 10 marijuana growing sites controlled by Lachey and other private investors. His comment follows the solid defeat of Issue 3 after an expensive campaign and opposition and a separate anti-monopoly ballot issue targeting the network of exclusive growing sites.

The director of the marijuana legalization campaign ResponsibleOhio told supporters the fight isn’t over. Meanwhile, a leader in the mainstream legalization movement says defeat in Ohio is unlikely to hurt such efforts elsewhere.

Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) says Tuesday’s outcome benefits families and communities at a time many are torn apart by drug abuse.

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11:10 p.m.

Columbus City Council President Andrew Ginther will become the first new mayor in over 15 years in Ohio’s capital.

Ginther had a significant lead in the vote count when his challenger, fellow Democrat and Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, conceded on Tuesday night.

Ginther has served on council since 2007 and boasted endorsements from the Franklin County Democratic Party and dozens of current and former Democratic officials. Among them was Mayor Michael Coleman, who was elected in 1999 and decided not to seek a fifth term.

Ginther says he’ll work to build on Coleman’s legacy. Ginther says each person in each neighborhood deserves a shot at success, and the way to accomplish that is by working together.

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10:15 p.m.

Ohio voters have approved a measure to prevent monopolies from being inserted into the state constitution.

The measure known as Issue 2 on Tuesday’s ballot aims to keep individuals or private economic interests from placing new monopolies, cartels or oligopolies into the Ohio Constitution for their own benefit.

The practice has become increasingly common around the country as it becomes more expensive to mount a ballot campaign. Investors design such efforts to deliver economic benefits as a sort of return on investment for funding the ballot initiative.

Issue 2 targeted the system of 10 marijuana-growing sites that would have been created by the pot legalization question known as Issue 3 on the ballot. Issue 3 was defeated, avoiding a court challenge as to which issue would have trumped the other.

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9:30 p.m.

After a decade of false starts, Ohio voters have approved new rules for drawing state legislative districts that aim to reduce partisan gerrymandering.

Approval of Issue 1 Tuesday marks a sweeping victory for bipartisanship in the closely divided political state. Republican and Democratic lawmakers developed the new apportionment system in an historic compromise last year. It gives the minority party a powerful say on any new 10-year map designating Ohio’s 99 House and 33 Senate districts. It got top billing on the ballot as state leaders’ priority issue.

A seven-member commission composed of the governor, secretary of state, auditor and four legislative appointees will now draw the lines.

Despite broad support, the campaign struggled for money and attention in an election dominated by a fight over marijuana legalization.

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9:30 p.m.

Voters have rejected a ballot measure that would have made Ohio the first state to make marijuana legal for both recreational and medical use in a single stroke.

The initiative’s failure follows an expensive campaign, a legal fight over its ballot wording and an investigation into the proposal’s petition signatures.

The constitutional amendment dubbed Issue 3 on Tuesday’s ballot would have allowed adults 21 and older to use, buy or grow certain amounts of marijuana. It also would have established a regulatory and taxation scheme while creating a network of 10 growing facilities.

Those growing sites were targeted in a separate ballot question aimed at preventing monopolies from being inserted into Ohio’s Constitution for the economic benefits of a few.

The defeat of Issue 3 means a court challenge can be avoided as to which issue would have trumped the other.

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9:20 p.m.

The secretary of state’s office says all polls in Ohio have closed, and the results are rolling in.

The release of statewide results was delayed until 9 p.m., the extended closing time for polls in Cincinnati and surrounding Hamilton County.

The marijuana legalization campaign ResponsibleOhio sought the extension for only that county in a filing for an emergency injunction, citing problems that occurred with a new electronic check-in system. A judge concluded that extending polling hours there was the right response.

Hamilton County voters who were in line at 7:30 p.m. were allowed to cast a regular ballot. Those who arrived between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. were required to cast provisional ballots.

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7:40 p.m.

Ohio’s elections chief has told local officials to start tallying votes but not release statewide results until 9 p.m., the extended closing time for polls in Cincinnati and surrounding Hamilton County.

Polls closed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday elsewhere in Ohio, but a judge ordered a 90-minute extension for voting locations in Hamilton County.

The marijuana legalization campaign ResponsibleOhio sought the extension in a filing for an emergency injunction, citing problems that occurred with a new electronic check-in system. The judge concluded that extending polling hours there was the right response.

Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO’-sted) then issued an evening directive saying other counties’ results are to be embargoed until those polls close.

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6:55 p.m.

Polls in Cincinnati and surrounding Hamilton County will remain open until 9 p.m. under a judge’s order.

Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman made the decision Tuesday in response to an emergency injunction filed by the marijuana legalization campaign ResponsibleOhio. The group sought the extension, citing problems experienced throughout the day involving a new electronic check-in system.

The election board fought the extension.

The judge’s decision was confirmed to The Associated Press by Eric Kearney, a former state senator who served as plaintiff in the request.

Media outlets that were in the courtroom report that Ruehlman heard brief arguments, then said giving voters an extra 90 minutes was “the right thing to do.”

Polls in other Ohio counties are scheduled to close at 7:30 p.m.

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6:15 p.m.

A marijuana legalization campaign in Ohio has asked a judge to extend voting for an additional 90 minutes in the county that includes Cincinnati, citing a glitch with the electronic check-in system.

A spokeswoman for ResponsibleOhio says the injunction was filed Tuesday. It asks for polls in Hamilton County to remain open until 9 p.m.

Hamilton County Elections Director Sherry Poland says polls were still scheduled to close at 7:30 p.m. pending notification from the court.

The request involves Ohio’s third most populous county. It comes as Ohio voters are deciding an issue that would legalize both recreational and medical marijuana in a single stroke for the first time in the nation. Results were expected to be close.

Two other statewide questions are also on the ballot.

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4:15 p.m.

Ohio’s elections chief says voter turnout appears to be lower than normal based on the number of absentee ballots, but Election Day voters could help make up for it.

After voting at a Columbus-area elementary school, Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO’-sted) told reporters that he’s heard reports from around the state that polling locations have seen a steady flow of voters on Tuesday.

More than 383,000 of the nearly 484,000 absentee ballots requested have been cast. Husted says that’s “much, much lower” than recent off-year elections with statewide issues on ballots.

Husted says the election is going smoothly for the most part, despite some problems in Hamilton County with a new electronic check-in system. He said the equipment worked but poll workers weren’t using them correctly.

Husted says he’s not aware of people being denied access to a ballot because of the problem.

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1:30 p.m.

Some voters in southwest Ohio’s Hamilton County reported problems in getting ballots because of a new electronic check-in system being used for this election.

Joe Brotzge (BRAHT-‘zkee) of suburban Loveland says he was second in line when polls opened Tuesday morning. He says he spent 25 minutes there and ended up having to cast a provisional ballot in the precinct where he says he’s voted for 30 years.

The Hamilton County elections director says around 10 of the county’s 369 polling stations reported early problems. She blamed “a learning curve” for poll workers.

Brotzge questioned what appeared to be inadequate testing of the new system and training of poll workers he described as “like a deer in headlights.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio called on the county to immediately address any issues that could disenfranchise voters.

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12:30 p.m.

Turnout was light at Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood midmorning Tuesday as 46-year-old Cheryl Davis arrived on her birthday to cast her ballot. Davis says she uses marijuana to help alleviate chronic pain in her back and voted “yes” on Issue 3 and “no” on Issue 2. Marijuana, she says, “helps me be comfortable in my daily living.”

Fifty-nine-year-old Crystal Allen says she also voted for Issue 3 and against Issue 2. She said she doesn’t use marijuana but saw how it helped her sister while she was being treated for cancer. “If people need it, they should be able to get it,” she says.

After emerging into bright sunshine after voting at an elementary school in the leafy Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, 65-year-old Marty Schraeger says he voted “no” on Issue 3 and “yes” on Issue 2. The retired school principal said he thinks marijuana should be legalized in the U.S., but opposes the idea of monopolies having control of the business.

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11 a.m.

Two voters who support marijuana legalization say they voted against Ohio’s Issue 3 because they don’t like the part creating exclusive growing sites.

Sixty-two-year-old Marty Dvorchak (Duh-vor-CHAK’) of Fairfield says he didn’t expect to vote against legalizing marijuana when it finally reached the ballot, because he considers it “ridiculous” that marijuana is illegal. But he doesn’t like Ohio’s issue.

Steve Mosier (MOH’-sher) of Cincinnati also says he doesn’t like the way the Ohio initiative is structured. He expects marijuana will eventually be legal, saying it’s less destructive to society than alcohol or cigarettes.

Twenty-two-year-old University of Cincinnati student Natalie McClorey says she doesn’t like the grower part, but voted “yes” because it’s progress. She thinks most students would vote the same - if they’ll go out and vote.

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10:15 a.m.

Election officials in two of Ohio’s counties say lines of voters dwindled some after an early wave of Ohioans who cast their ballots early in the state’s general election.

An elections board official in Ohio’s most populous county says voting in Cuyahoga County slowed later Tuesday morning after the usual early morning rush. Spokesman Mike West said no problems had been reported at the county’s 395 polling places and absentee and early voting numbers were at expected levels. But West says a warm, sunny day could help boost turnout at the polls.

Thirty percent of registered voters in the county, which includes Cleveland, voted in the November 2013 general election.

Poll workers at a church on the east side of Columbus in Franklin County said they had a line out the door when polls opened there. But workers say it had thinned out by midmorning.

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8:30 a.m.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO’-sted) says more than 383,000 of the nearly 484,000 absentee ballots requested in this year’s general election have been cast as voters head to the polls.

Husted said an informal survey of Ohio’s 88 county boards of election as of Tuesday morning showed the majority of the absentee ballots cast were returned by mail and the rest in person.

Husted said there was still time to drop off absentee ballots. Voted ballots can be delivered in person to boards of elections through the close of the polls Tuesday. They may not be returned at polling locations.

Polls close at 7:30 p.m.

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7:40 a.m.

A small but steady stream of voters cast their ballots at an elementary school in the northern Cincinnati suburb of West Chester in the first hour after polls opened Tuesday in Ohio in the state’s general election.

An Ohio mother from West Chester said she voted no on Issue 3. That ballot question would legalize marijuana for both recreational and medical use. Forty-year-old Beth Zielenski said she thought a lot of things need to be worked out first on regulation. Zielenski says the possibility of legalization “does worry me.”

Forty-seven-year-old Timothy Shearer said he voted yes on Issue 3 and doesn’t think it would cause more problems. Shearer described himself as a “military guy” who has never used marijuana. But he says he thinks people should have the right to choose.

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6:45 a.m.

Polls have opened in Ohio as voters decide on ballot issues including one that would legalize marijuana for both recreational and medical use and one involving a legislative redistricting overhaul.

Election sites opened their doors at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. Polls remain open until 7:30 p.m.

Turnout is expected to be low as early presidential politicking has largely overshadowed 2015 campaigns.

The ballot question on marijuana would allow Ohio to become the first state to legalize it for both recreational and medical use in a single stroke. But opponents are hoping a separate measure aimed at nullifying the idea will succeed.

The redistricting measure would establish a new system for drawing state legislative districts in the battleground state.

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2:10 a.m.

A ballot question would allow Ohio to become the first state to legalize marijuana for both recreational and medical use in a single stroke. But opponents are placing their hopes in a separate measure aimed at nullifying the idea.

A redistricting overhaul rounds out a trio of statewide ballot issues before voters Tuesday. Turnout is expected to be low as early presidential politicking has largely overshadowed 2015 campaigns.

Issue 1, the redistricting measure, would establish a new system for drawing state legislative districts in the battleground state. It’s intended to reduce partisan gerrymandering by giving the minority party more power in making 10-year maps.

Issue 2 bans constitutional monopolies and specifically targets 10 exclusive marijuana growing sites created by Issue 3, the pot-legalization amendment.

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This story has been corrected to show that the Hamilton County board of elections says it has 369 polling stations, not 364.

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