Justia Election Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus ordering the school board to certify a petition proposing the transfer of territory from one school district to another and certify the transfer proposal to the board of elections for placement on the ballot at the August 4 special election, holding that a writ of mandamus was warranted. Petitioner, a qualified elector in the territory proposed to be transferred, filed a mandamus complaint alleging that the school board failed to comply with its statutory obligations to promptly certify the petition and the proposal to the board of elections and that the school board's unwarranted delay caused the transfer proposal to miss the deadline for certification to the August 4 ballot. Petitioner also sought a writ ordering the board of elections to place the proposal on the August 4 ballot. The Supreme Court granted the writ as to the school board and denied it as to the elections board, holding (1) the school board had the opportunity to certify the proposal for placement on the August 4 special election ballot but declined to do so for reasons outside its authority; and (2) Petitioner's mandamus claim against the elections board was not ripe. View "State ex rel. Cook v. Bowling Green City Schools Board of Education" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus sought by Katie O'Neill ordering the Athens County Board of Elections to declare that she was an eligible candidate for the Democratic nomination to the office of state representative for the 94th Ohio House District and to include in its official canvass of the primary election the votes cast for O'Neill, holding that the board abused its discretion by rejecting O'Neill's petition. On December 18, 2019, O'Neill filed her petition seeking to run for the Democratic nomination for the office of state representative for the 94th Ohio House District. The Board unanimously certified O'Neill's name to the primary ballot. Keith Monk filed a protest against O'Neill's candidacy. After a hearing, the Board voted in favor of the protest, concluding that O'Neill was not an eligible candidate for the nomination because she had not resided in the district for one year next preceding the November 3, 2020 general election and that the petition was invalid because O'Neill was not a registered voter in Athens County when she began circulating her part-petitions. The Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus, holding that the Board abused its discretion and disregarded applicable law by upholding the protest to O'Neill's candidacy. View "State ex rel. O'Neill v. Athens County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted in part a writ of mandamus sought by Ohioans for Secure and Fair Elections (Ohio-SAFE) seeking, among other things, to compel the Ohio Ballot Board to certify to the Attorney General that the Ohio-SAFE petition contained only one proposed constitutional amendment, holding that Ohio-SAFE had a clear legal right to certification of the proposed amendment as written and the Board had a clear legal duty to make that certification. Ohio-SAFE submitted to the Attorney General an initiative petition and summary, which would amend Ohio Const. art. V, section 1 to eliminate the thirty-day registration requirement to be eligible to vote. In addition, the proposed amendment would guarantee certain rights to every United States citizen who was or was eligible to become an elector in Ohio. The Secretary of State made a motion for the Board to find that the Ohio-SAFE amendment contained four separate proposals. The Board approved the amendment. The Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus directing the Secretary of State to grant a writ of mandamus directing the Board to certify the Ohio-SAFE amendment as a single amendment, holding that mandamus should issue. View "State ex rel. Ohioans for Secure & Fair Elections v. LaRose" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the Libertarian Party of Ohio's complaint asking the Supreme Court to invalidate Directive 2020-06 and establish procedures for completing the 2020 primary election, holding that subsequent actions by the secretary of state and the general assembly rendered those requests moot. On March 16, 2020 the director of the Ohio Department of Health issued an order closing polling places in Ohio to avoid the threat of exposure to COVID-19. That same night, the Secretary of State issued Directive 2020-06, which purported to extend absentee voting through June 1 and set June 2 as the date for in-person voting at polling places. On March 17, this expedited election case was filed seeking a writ of prohibition to invalidate the directive and establish procedures for completing the 2020 primary election. Thereafter, the General Assembly passed House Bill 197, an emergency act that voided Directive 2020-06 and established how the primary election will proceed. The governor signed House Bill 197 into law on March 27. The Supreme Court dismissed this cause, holding that the Libertarian Party's complaint was moot. View "State ex rel. Ohio Democratic Party v. LaRose" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied a writ of mandamus sought by Tiffany White and Tiffany White 4 for the People compelling the Franklin County Board of Elections to place White's name on the March 17, 2020 primary ballot as a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for the office of state representative for the 25th Ohio House District, holding that White did not establish that she had a clear legal right to have her name appear on the ballot. The Board informed White that her name would not appear on the ballot because her petition was one signature short of the required fifty signatures. Before the Supreme Court, White asserted that the Board abused its discretion by failing to validate three signatures on her nominating petition. White also filed a motion to strike the brief of amicus curiae Miranda Lange. The Supreme Court denied the writ and motion to strike, holding (1) White failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the three disputed petition signatures were genuine or that the Board abused its discretion in rejecting them; and (2) White was not entitled to a motion to strike. View "State ex rel. White v. Franklin County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted a limited writ compelling the Stark County Board of Elections to review a petition to transfer certain territory from one school district to another for placement on the March 17, 2020 primary-election ballot, holding that Relators were entitled to a limited writ of mandamus. This was the third case involving a petition to transfer the territory of the village of Hills and Dales from Plain Local School District to Jackson Local School District. In the second case, the Supreme Court ordered Plain Local School District Board of Education to forward the petition to the elections board to check the sufficiency of the signatures on the petition. After the elections board verified that the petition contained a sufficient number of valid signatures, Relators, residents of Hills and Dales, brought this action seeking a writ of mandamus to compel the placement of the transfer proposal on the March 17 ballot. The Supreme Court granted mandamus relief, holding that the elections board had a duty to determine whether the proposal can be placed on an election ballot. View "State ex rel. Dunn v. Plain Local School District Board of Education" on Justia Law

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In this expedited election case, the Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus to compel the Plain Local School District Board of Education to forward to the Stark County Board of Elections a petition proposing the transfer of some of Plain Local School District's territory to Jackson Local School District, holding that the school board had a clear legal duty to forward the transfer petition to the board of elections. The petition sought to have a proposal to transfer the territory at issue placed on the March 17, 2020 primary election ballot. Under Ohio Rev. Code 3311.242(B)(2), the school board was required to certify the proposal to the board of elections by December 18, 2019. The school board stated that it would not act on the petition until there was a final determination of its claims in a previously filed lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of section 3311.242. Relators sought mandamus relief against the school board. The Supreme Court granted mandamus relief and ordered the school board to cause the board of elections to check the sufficiency of the signatures on the petition, holding that Relators established a clear legal right to the requested relief and a clear legal duty on the part of the school board to provide it. View "State ex rel. Dunn v. Plain Local School District Board of Education" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this expedited election case in which the village of Hills and Dales sought a writ of mandamus to compel the Plain Local School District Board of Education to forward to the Stark County Board of Elections a petition proposing the transfer of some of the school district's territory to Jackson Local School District, holding that the village lacked standing. Specifically, the Court held that where Ohio Rev. Code 3311.242 authorizes only qualified electors to submit a transfer petition and does not confer rights upon municipal corporations, the village lacked authority to seek a writ of mandamus compelling the enforcement of Ohio Rev. Code 3311.242. View "State ex rel. Hills & Dales v. Plain Local School District Board of Education" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Katrina D. Keith's claim seeking a writ of prohibition requiring the Lawrence County Board of Elections and its members (collectively, the Board) to remove Samuel T. Cramblit II's name from the ballot and prohibiting the Board from counting the votes Cramblit received as a candidate for the officer of Ironton Mayor in the November 5, 2019 general election, holding that Keith failed to state a claim in prohibition. Keith, Ironton's current mayor and Cramblit's opponent in the election, argued that the Board should not have certified Cramblit's name to the ballot because he did not meet the residency qualification for the office under Ironton's charter. The Supreme Court dismissed Keith's claim, holding that Keith failed to state a valid claim in prohibition because the Board did not exercise quasi-judicial power regarding Cramblit's candidacy. View "State ex rel. Keith v. Lawrence County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Appellant's request for a writ of mandamus ordering the Tuscarawas County Board of Elections to certify Appellant's name to the November 2019 ballot as a candidate for mayor of the village of Sugarcreek, holding that Appellant did not have a clear legal right to have his name placed on the November ballot where his petition did not substantially comply with Ohio Rev. Code 3513.261. The Board rejected Appellant's petition because he failed to complete the nominating-petition portion of the Form No. 3-O part-petitions. The court of appeals denied Appellant's complaint seeking a writ of mandamus ordering the Board to certify his name to the ballot. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant's submission of Form No. 3-O part-petitions that omitted his name and the office he sought from the nominating-petition portion of the forms did not amount to substantial compliance with section 3513.261. View "State ex rel. Weller v. Tuscarawas County Board of Elections" on Justia Law