Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Relators filed a petition with the Medina County Board of Elections proposing the adoption of a county charter. The Director of the Board of Elections voted on whether to certify the proposed charter petition to the Board of County Commissioners, which resulted in a two-to-two tie. Secretary of State Jon Husted broke the tie against the motion to certify the proposed charter petition to the County Commissioners. Relators sought a writ of mandamus requiring the Secretary of State and the Board to place the proposed charter on the November 2016 ballot. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that Relators were not entitled to a writ of mandamus because there was an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law through which Relators could have challenged the Board’s decision. View "State ex rel. Jones v. Husted" on Justia Law

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The Meigs County Homes Rule Committee and its members (collectively, the committee) sought to place a proposed charter for Meigs County on the November 2016 ballot. The committee submitted the petition to the Meigs County Board of Elections (the board), which certified the petition. The Meigs County Board of Commissioners and its members (collectively, the commissioners) refused to certify the initiative for placement on the ballot, concluding that the board failed to act within the time frame required by Ohio Rev. Code 307.94. The committee sought of a writ of mandamus compelling placement of the proposed charter on the ballot. The court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court reversed and granted the writ, holding that the board’s initial letter to the commissioners certifying the petition satisfied the requirements of section 307.94. View "State ex rel. Meigs County Home Rule Comm. v. Meigs County Bd. of Comm’rs" on Justia Law

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In 2013, Shawn Valentine was elected trustee of Spencer Township in Lucas County. In 2015, Valentine, who serves in the Ohio Army National Guard, told the two other trustees of his military deployment but that he did not intend to resign his position as trustee. The two trustees subsequently voted to declare Valentine’s office vacant and then appointed one of the trustees, D. Hilarion Smith, to take Valentine’s trustee position. Relator, the Lucas County prosecuting attorney, sought a peremptory writ of quo warranto seeking to remove Smith from the office of township trustee and a declaration that Valentine was the rightful holder of that position. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding (1) under the plain language of Ohio Rev. Code 503.241, Smith usurped the title and authority of Valentine’s office of township trustee; and (2) the board of township trustees violated the Open Meetings Act when it unlawfully appointed Smith to Valentine’s trustee position. View "State ex rel. Bates v. Smith" on Justia Law