"Keep the Jail Downtown" supporters make final campaign push ahead of Toledo's special election

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Toledo's special election is still a few days away, but for those looking to keep Lucas County's jail downtown time is of the essence.

"This is the final push," said Mary Dutkowski with the Keep the Jail Downtown advocacy group. "We want people to get out and early vote."

For about a year now Dutkowski and her team have worked tirelessly to get the issue on the ballot. Friday she and others from her group spent the day campaigning outside the early vote center.

"We really want to have a good, solid number for people that are voting since it is a special election," said Joyce Slusher.

If voters approve the measure Toledo's charter would change to only allow a new jail in city limits to be built on or near the current one.

"It's just common sense," said Dutkowski. "You can't just pick the jail up and move it without creating astronomical costs."

Recently, county commissioners bought land near Detroit and Alexis looking to build a new jail there--citing a major need. Commissioners even placed a levy on last November's ballot to fund the project, but voters turned it down.

Along with the cost, Dutkowski's group thinks the proposed location combined with safety concerns played into people's "no" decision.

"All of the support organizations—like the food pantries when these people are released, the transportation of TARTA being downtown—everything is central," said Slusher.

With the countdown on to another election those hoping to keep the jail downtown say they feel confident.

"I think we've notified the right people," said Slusher. "We've given them facts, good information about why it should be downtown."

Even if it doesn't pass backers say they'll go home knowing they did all they could for what they think is best for Toledo.

"This is a Democracy," said Dutkowski. "If they vote 'No' then we're done. We accept that."

Even if the measure passes it still could face legal challenges. County attorneys have said in the past that a vote by Toledo voters doesn't hold authority over county government.