Articles 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

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Relators were the members of the committee that nominated Gary Johnson and William Weld to appear on Ohio’s November 2016 ballot as independent candidates for president and vice president of the United States. Johnson and Weld jointly received 3.17 percent of the total votes cast in Ohio for president and vice president. Relators subsequently brought this action in mandamus seeking to require the Ohio Secretary of State to recognize Relators as a political party under Ohio Rev. Code 3517.01. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that Relators were not entitled to the writ because they do not qualify as a political party, as their candidates were nominated as independent candidates without any political-party affiliation, and section 3517.01 and Ohio Rev. Code 3501.01 permit only established political parties to retain ballot access if they receive at least three percent of the vote. View "State ex rel. Fockler v. Husted" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Sensible Norwood was a political-action committee established to support an initiative proposing an ordinance to decriminalize hashish and marijuana in the City of Norwood. The Hamilton County Board of Elections voted unanimously not to place the proposed ordinance on the ballot for the November 8, 2016 election, reasoning that it attempted to enact felony offenses and to impose administrative restrictions on the enforcement of existing laws. Sensible Norwood and its founder (together, Relators) initiated this action as an expedited election matter seeking a writ of mandamus to require the Board to place the proposed ordinance on the ballot. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that Relators failed to establish a clear legal right to the requested relief and a clear legal duty on the part of the Board to provide it. View "State ex rel. Sensible Norwood v. Hamilton County Bd. of Elections" on Justia Law

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The Schottenstein Real Estate Group filed a rezoning application seeking a mixed-use designation for three parcels of land, two owned by Paul and Mary Jacquemin and a third owned by Arthur and Elizabeth Wesner. The Jerome Township Board of Trustees adopted a resolution approving the rezoning. Thereafter, opponents of the resolution delivered a referendum petition to the township fiscal officer. The Jacquemins filed a protest of the petition with the Union County Board of Elections, and the Wesners filed a separate protest. The Jerome Township Board of Trustees voted to deny the protests and to place the referendum issue on the November 8, 2016 general election ballot. The Jacquemins sought extraordinary relief to prevent the Board from placing the referendum on the ballot. The Supreme Court granted the request for a writ of mandamus, holding that the Board clearly disregarded the applicable legal standard for reviewing petition summaries, as the petition summary in this case was misleading and could not form the basis to submit this issue to a vote. View "State ex rel. Jacquemin v. Union County Bd. of Elections" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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In March 2016, Mike Schadek, an Upper Arlington City Council member, resigned his council seat, and in May, 2016, the Upper Arlington City Council appointed Sue Ralph as Schadek’s replacement. Omar Ganoom filed an election complaint seeking a writ of mandamus against the Franklin County Board of Elections and certain Upper Arlington respondents, alleging that there must be an election in November 2016 with the winner to serve in the vacated council seat until Schadek’s term expires in January 2020 and that Ganoom had taken all the steps necessary to appear on the ballot as a candidate. The Supreme Court granted in part and denied in part the writ, holding (1) the Upper Arlington City Charter imposes a clear legal duty upon the city of Upper Arlington to fill Schadek’s seat for its unexpired term at the November 2016 election; and (2) because the matter had not reached the Board of Elections, no relief is granted against the Board. View "State ex rel. Ganoom v. Franklin County Bd. of Elections" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Relators filed petitions proposing the adoption of county charters in Athens, Meigs, and Portage Counties. Each of the boards of elections reviewed the petitions and, while determining that the petitions contained sufficient signatures, rejected the petitions as invalid. Secretary of State Jon Husted denied Relators’ protests and instructed the boards not to place the proposed charters on the ballot. Relators then initiated this action seeking a writ of mandamus requiring Husted and the boards of elections to place the proposed charters on the ballot. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that the secretary of state and boards of elections did not abuse their discretion in determining that the proposed county charters failed to satisfy the requirements under Ohio Const. art. X, 3 for a valid charter initiative. View "State ex rel. Coover v. Husted" on Justia Law

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In this mandamus action Relators sought a writ of mandamus to compel Secretary of State Jon Husted to restore more than 21,000 previously invalidated signatures in part-petitions supporting the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act. This action was a companion case to Ohio Mfrs. Ass’n v. Ohioans for Drug Price Relief Act, in which the Supreme Court found that the petition contained an insufficient number of signatures. In the instant case, the Supreme Court granted the requested writ in part and denied it in part, holding (1) the finding in Ohio Mfrs. Ass’n was based on the limited evidence before the Court in that case; (2) Husted is ordered to validate additional signatures from several counties, therefore establishing that the petition filing exceeded the minimum-signature threshold; and (3) Husted is ordered to rescind his transmission of the initiative to the General Assembly and is ordered instead to accept for verification the supplementary part-petitions, and if they are found to contain sufficient valid signatures, to place the matter on the November 2017 general-election ballot. View "State ex rel. Jones v. Husted" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law