Hamilton County Must Amend Ballot Language in November 5 Issue
Cincinnati, Youngstown Elections Cases Announced Today
In one of two expedited election cases announced today, the Supreme Court of Ohio ordered the Hamilton County Board of Elections to produce amended ballot language that includes omitted sections of a proposed charter amendment to reform the city employee pension program.
In the other expedited case announced today dealing with the November 5 election, the court declined to order the Mahoning County Board of Elections to omit the name of Demaine Kitchen on the ballot for the office of Youngstown mayor.
HAMILTON COUNTY CASE
Cincinnati for Pension Reform (CPR) sponsored an initiative petition to amend the Cincinnati City Charter to reform the current system for providing retirement benefits to city employees. After the Hamilton County Board of Elections adopted modified ballot language for how the proposed amendment would be presented to voters in the November 5 election, CPR filed for a writ of mandamus (an order compelling an official to perform a duty correctly) with the Ohio Supreme Court on September 12, arguing that by omitting two important sections of the proposed city charter amendment in the ballot language, the board of elections failed to produce language that is an accurate account of the measure.
In a 6-1 per curium (not authored by a specific justice) ruling today, the Ohio Supreme Court granted the requested writ in part. Justice Paul E. Pfeifer dissented.
“We find that the board abused its discretion by adopting ballot language that omits two key provisions of the proposed charter amendment and accordingly grant the writ in part,” the court wrote. Certain other relief sought by CPR was denied.
The complete opinion is available on the court’s website.
MAHONING COUNTY CASE
The court unanimously denied a writ sought by Cecil Monroe, a write-in candidate for the office of mayor of Youngstown. Monroe wanted the Supreme Court to prohibit the Mahoning County Board of Elections from including on the November 5 ballot the name of independent candidate Demaine Kitchen. Monroe argued that Kitchen should not be permitted to appear as an independent candidate because he is in fact a Democrat.
“We find that Monroe has failed to satisfy his burden of proof and deny the writ,” the court wrote in its decision announced today.
The court found that the evidence does not demonstrate an abuse of discretion by the Mahoning County Board of Elections in its decision to list Kitchen on the ballot as an independent candidate for mayor of Youngstown.
The complete opinion is available on the court’s website.2013-1473. State ex rel. Monroe v. Mahoning County Board of Elections. Slip Opinion No. 2013-Ohio-4490.
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