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Law & Government


The primary election is over. Except for the Presidential campaign, some of you may not have known there were elections. Let’s be honest. Many of us realized for the first time at the poll that we had LOTS of decisions to make. For those of us who voted a partisan ballot, whether Democrat or Republican, we voted for several offices. So what are these offices we are electing? At the risk of trying to “outshine” my high school government teacher, I want to refresh your memory of the positions for which we will vote again in November. As most readers know, I work in government. But I realize that many people do not regularly interact with government other than paying taxes. So the goal of this article is to jog your memory of what each position does. Every two years we elect a State Representative. This person will represent you in the Ohio General Assembly. Of course, this is our government in Columbus. In short, they make Ohio laws. Income taxes, gun legislation, rules about hydraulic fracturing, and most other topics are decided by these folks. This year we vote on this important position as well as for State Senators. At the county level, we will elect two County Commissioners, the Sheriff, Recorder, Treasurer, Prosecutor, and Clerk of Courts this year. The Sheriff enforces the law and investigates crimes in unincorporated areas (townships). The Prosecutor is supposed to prosecute crimes and represent the county in court in civil matters. So what do the other positions do? The County Commissioners are responsible for the overall operation of the county and, more importantly, the county budget and spending. The Treasurer collects and invests county money. The Clerk of Courts maintains all court files and accepts incoming documents in court cases. And the Recorder records documents such as deeds and maintains previously recorded documents. Aside from Sheriff and Prosecutor, the others may seem “ho hum.” That is probably a fair assessment. But consider how these positions might be important. If you buy a house, do you want an accurate record that you own it? A responsible County Recorder is in charge of this. If you are found “not guilty” of a crime, would you like the official records to reflect this? The Clerk of Courts is in charge of this. Do you want your tax dollars to be spent responsibly? The County Commissioners are charged with doing so. These positions seem more relevant when we consider how they might affect our own lives. At the risk of repeating from prior columns, these are the reasons that make voting important. Whether you voted in the primary or not, please exercise your right to vote in the November election. Obviously the President of the United States is important and your vote matters. But the state and county positions also matter. I encourage everyone to look at each candidate on the ballot. Will they make the decisions that YOU want them to make? If so, they deserve your vote. And if they do not, find the person who will make decisions like you. After all, it is our money and our government.

This column does not seek to provide legal advice.  Neither Tommie Jo Marsilio nor the Villager are providing legal advice to readers.  This column is for education and entertainment only.  The advice of an attorney or other professional should be sought regarding any individual situation or legal question.