Justia Election Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by Relators ordering the members of the Stow City Council to hold an administrative vote on nine amendments to the Stow City Charter that were proposed by the 2020 Charter Review Commission and to issue an ordinance certifying the amendments to the board for placement on the November 3, 2020 general election ballot, holding that the Relators were not entitled to the writ.The Supreme Court denied the writs of the basis of the doctrine of laches, as well as Relators' failure to establish the existence of a clear legal right to the requested relief and a clear legal duty on the part of Respondents to provide it. The Court held (1) Relators met the elements of laches, and therefore, the doctrine of laches barred Relators' claims; and (2) Relators did not establish a clear and legal right to the requested relief, a clear legal duty on the part of Respondents to grant it, or a lack of an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law. View "State ex rel. Syx v. Stow City Council" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied a writ of mandamus sought by Relators seeking to compel the placement of four referendum petitions on the November 2020 ballot, holding that Relators failed to present evidence establishing their right to relief.King received petitions calling for a referendum on two meter ordinances, an ordinance authorizing the city manager to enter into an extension of the employment contract with the current law director, and an ordinance authorizing the issuance of bonds to fund the purchase and renovation of real property for use as a municipal building. King questioned whether the ordinances were subject to referendum. Relators then filed this mandamus complaint. The Supreme Court denied a writ of mandamus, holding that Relators failed to present evidence establishing their right to relief by clear and convincing evidence. View "State ex rel. Luonuansuu v. King" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writ of prohibition sought by Relator to prevent the Trumbull County Board of Elections from holding a hearing under Ohio Rev. Code 3501.11(J) and (Q), holding that Relator failed to show that the board was about to exercise quasi-judicial power, that the hearing was unauthorized by law, or that she lacked an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law.Section 3501.11(J) empowers the board to investigate violations of election law and report its findings to the secretary of state or the prosecuting attorney. Section 3501.11(Q) empowers the board to investigate the residence qualifications of electors. Relator, who won the Republican nomination to the office of Trumbull County Commissioner and was certified to appear on the November 3, 2020 ballot as a candidate, told Relator that it would hold a public hearing to address allegations regarding Relator's residence and eligibility as an elector during the 2019 through 2020 school year and Relator's alleged misstatements regarding the same. Relator filed a writ of prohibition seeking to prevent the board from holding the hearing.The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that Relator failed to establish any of the elements showing that she was entitled to a writ of prohibition. View "State ex rel. Frenchko v. Trumbull County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writs of mandamus sought by Relators, Marie Nauth and the group Concerned Citizens of Medina City (CCMC), seeking an order directing members of the Medina County Board of Elections (collectively, the Board) to certify as valid forty-seven signatures that Relators say the Board invalidated as not genuine, holding that Relators did not meet their burden to show an abuse of discretion by the Board.Relators filed a referendum petition that fell forty-four signatures short of qualifying for the November 3, 2020 general election ballot. Relators then commenced this action seeking a writ of mandamus that would direct the Board to reexamine the signatures on the referendum petition and certify as valid the signatures of qualified electors that they signed the referendum petition. The Supreme Court denied the writs, holding that Relators failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the forty-seven signatures at issue were invalidated in the first place and for what reasons. View "State ex rel. Nauth v. Dirham" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by Douglas Bobovnyik to compel the Mahoning County Board of Elections to certify his name to the November 3, 2020 ballot as an independent candidate for the office of Mahoning County Sheriff, holding that the board did not abuse its discretion or disregard applicable law.The board found Bobovnyik ineligible to be a candidate for the officer of Mahoning County Sheriff because (1) Bobovnyik had not demonstrated that he had resided in Mahoning County for the year immediately preceding March 16, 2020, as required under Ohio Rev. Code 311.01(B)(2); and (2) the board had not received the results of Bobovnyik's background check, as required under Ohio Rev. Code 311.01(B)(6). Bobovnyik subsequently filed this mandamus action to compel the board to place his name on the ballot. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that the board's residency determination alone was sufficient to prevent Bobovnyik's name from being placed on the ballot. View "State ex rel. Bobovnyik v. Mahoning County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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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