Articles Posted in Election Law

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The Supreme Court denied Relator’s request for a writ of mandamus and/or a writ of prohibition to compel Respondent, the Wood County Board of Elections, to remove a charter amendment petition from the November 2017 ballot. Relator challenged the validity of the petition, alleging that it exceeded the municipal powers of self-government set forth in the Ohio Constitution, and alleging that the petition had insufficient valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. Respondent concluded that the petition was valid. The Supreme Court affirmed Respondent’s decision rejecting Relator’s protest arguments, holding that Relator’s protest had no merit. View "State ex rel. Espen v. Wood County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Supreme Court denied relief in this original action seeking writs of mandamus and prohibition in regards to a zoning referendum. Relators argued that the zoning referendum did not comply with Ohio Rev. Code 519.12(H) because it did not reference the name of the property owner. Therefore, Relators argued that the referendum should removed from the November 7, 2017 ballot. The Supreme Court held (1) Relators’ mandamus claim must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because, although Relators framed their mandamus request in terms of compelling the board of elections to discharge affirmative duties, their true objectives were a declaratory injunction and a prohibitory injunction; and (2) the decision of the board denying Relators’ protest was authorized by law, and therefore, Relators were not entitled to a writ of prohibition. View "State ex rel. Tam O'Shanter Co. v. Stark County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by Joseph Simonetti seeking to compel the Summit County Board of Elections and Secretary of State (collectively, Respondents) to place his name on the November 7, 2017 ballot as a candidate for a city council position. Respondents refused to certify Simonetti’s candidacy after finding that Simonetti did not sign the statement of candidacy that appeared on his fourth petition paper, which contained twenty-one electors’ signatures, before the electors signed the nominating petition. In denying the writ, the Supreme Court held (1) Respondents properly attributed weight to the fourth petition paper itself, which, on its fact, indicated a failure to comply with Ohio Rev. Code 3513.261; and (2) Simonetti failed to provide clear and convincing evidence that Respondents abused their discretion by crediting less weight to the contrary evidence. View "State ex rel. Simonetti v. Summit County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Supreme Court denied writs of mandamus sought by Relators to compel the Mahoning County Board of Elections (BOE) and its individual members (collectively, Respondents) to certify Relators’ petitions to place two proposed amendments to the Youngstown City Charter on the November 2017 ballot: the People’s Bill of Rights for Fair Elections and Access to Local Government and the Youngstown Drinking Water Protection Bill of Rights. The BOE voted not to certify the amendments to appear on the ballot on the grounds that they exceeded the city’s initiative power. In denying the requested writs, the Supreme Court held that the BOE did not violate a clear legal duty when it refused to certify the petitions to place the proposed amendments on the ballot. View "State ex rel. Flak v. Betras" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied writs of mandamus requested by Relators - the members of the Athens County and Medina County Committees of Petitioners - seeking to compel Respondents - Relators’ respective county board of elections - to certify initiative petitions to the November ballot. The petitions, which proposed the adoption of a county charter, were denied on the grounds that they were invalid. The Supreme Court held that the boards of elections were justified in finding the petitions invalid and that that issue was dispositive. Because the committees failed to establish a clear legal duty on the part of the boards to place the charter petitions on the ballot, the committees were not entitled to writs of mandamus. View "State ex rel. McGinn v. Walker" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Supreme Court denied Relators’ petition seeking a writ of mandamus compelling the Lorain County Board of Election to certify an initiative petition for the November ballot. The petition sought to repeal a county permissive sales tax. The Lorain County Board of Elections voted not to place the petition on the general election ballot on the grounds that Ohio Rev. Code 5739.022 does not permit an initiative petition to repeal a county permissive tax that was not passed or enacted as an emergency measure. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that section 5739.022(A) did not provide Relators the clear legal right to have the petition placed on the November ballot. View "State ex rel. Repeal Lorain County Permissive Sales Tax Committee v. Lorain County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The clerk of the Cleveland City Council rejected a referendum petition seeking to repeal Cleveland Ordinance No. 305-17, finding that it would “unconstitutionally impair an already existing and binding contract.” Several individuals sent a letter to Relator, the law director of the city of Cleveland, demanding that she exercise her authority to seek a writ of mandamus compelling the clerk to accept the petition. In response, Relator commenced the present complaint for a writ of mandamus to compel the clerk to determine the sufficiency of the referendum petition. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that the clerk had a clear legal duty to verify the sufficiency of the petition signatures, and Relators had a clear legal right to compel the performance of that duty. View "State ex rel. Langhenry v. Britt" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The clerk of the Cleveland City Council rejected a referendum petition seeking to repeal Cleveland Ordinance No. 305-17, finding that it would “unconstitutionally impair an already existing and binding contract.” Several individuals sent a letter to Relator, the law director of the city of Cleveland, demanding that she exercise her authority to seek a writ of mandamus compelling the clerk to accept the petition. In response, Relator commenced the present complaint for a writ of mandamus to compel the clerk to determine the sufficiency of the referendum petition. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that the clerk had a clear legal duty to verify the sufficiency of the petition signatures, and Relators had a clear legal right to compel the performance of that duty. View "State ex rel. Langhenry v. Britt" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Article IV, Section 4 of the Westlake City Charter requires the city’s director of law to have been engaged in the active practice of law for any period of six year preceding election. In this case, Andrea Rocco field a complaint seeking a writ of mandamus to compel the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to issue a certification of nomination and to certify her name for placement upon the November 2017 ballot as a candidate for the city of Westlake’s director of law. Four protests were sustained against Rocco’s candidacy contending that she did not meet requirements to hold the position of director of law. The Cuyahoga County board of Elections voted to sustain the protests. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that Rocco demonstrated that the board abused its discretion by denying her a certificate of nomination because the evidence established that Rocco did engaged in the active practice of law for a period of six years preceding the November 2017 election. View "State ex rel. Rocco v. Cuyahoga County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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In July 2015, the Delaware Joint Vocational School District Board of Education passed a resolution to submit a renewal levy to voters at the general election. On November 20, 2015, the Delaware County Board of Elections purported to certify the election result. The county auditor then delivered the abstract of tax rates to the tax commissioner to apply the reduction factors and calculate the tax rate for the school district. When the county auditor discovered that the Board of Elections had not certified the results of the levy using Form 5-U, however, the tax commissioner excluded the levy on the list of tax rates certified for collection to the county auditors in counties with territory in the school district, and the levy was not included on the property tax bills sent to property owners for the first half of tax year 2016. The school board brought this action in mandamus to compel the tax commissioner to apply the reduction factors and calculate the tax rates for the levy. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding that because no proper certification of the multicounty election was presented to the tax commissioner demonstrating that the tax was authorized to be levied, the commissioner did not have a clear legal duty to apply reduction factors and calculate tax rates for this levy. View "State ex rel. Delaware Joint Vocational School District Board of Education v. Testa" on Justia Law