Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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In this expedited election case, the Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by Relators seeking to compel the Lucas County Board of Elections to place a proposed charter amendment on the November 6, 2018 general-election ballot, holding that the Board did not abuse its discretion. Relators submitted part-petitions in support of a proposed amendment to the Toledo City Charter entitled the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR). The Board verified a sufficient number of petition signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot but refused to place the charter amendment on the ballot on the ground that it contained provisions that were beyond the authority of the City to enact. Relators then filed this expedited election complaint. The Supreme Court held that the Board did not abuse its discretion when it relied on this Court’s decision in State ex rel. Flak v. Betras, 95 N.E.3d 329 (Ohio 2017) to deny the request to place the LEBOR charter amendments on the ballot. View "State ex rel. Twitchell v. Saferin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought Relators seeking to compel the Board of Trustees of Perry Township in Stark County to place a tax levy on the November 6, 2018 ballot, holding that Relators did not establish that they were entitled to a writ of mandamus. The Board disqualified the proposed levy from the November 2018 ballot because Relators’ resolution and the proposed ballot language stated that the renewal and increase would have commenced in tax year 2018, the final year of the existing levy. The Supreme Court denied Relators’ request for a writ of mandamus, holding that Relators failed to establish that (1) the Board had a clear legal duty to place the proposed renewal-and-increase levy, commencing in the final year of the existing levy, on the ballot; or (2) Secretary of State Jon Husted failed to perform any clear legal duty. View "State ex rel. Perry Township Board of Trustees v. Husted" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by six Columbus electors (Relators) to compel members of the Franklin County Board of Elections (Respondents) to place a proposed city ordinance on the November 6, 2018 ballot, holding that Respondents did not abuse their discretion in excluding the measure from the ballot. If adopted, the proposal would establish a “Community Bill of Rights” related to water, soil, and air protection and prohibit certain oil and gas extraction activities within the City of Columbus. Respondents found that the proposed ordinance was beyond the city’s legislative power because it would create new causes of action. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that Respondents did not abuse their discretion in concluding that the proposed ballot measure was beyond the scope of the city’s legislative power. View "State ex rel. Bolzenius v. Preisse" on Justia Law

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In this expedited elections case, the Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus ordering Solon Director of Finance Matt Rubino to certify the sufficiency and validity of an initiative petition proposing an ordinance that would amend the city of Solon’s zoning map to create the Kerem Lake Mixed-Use District to the board of elections for placement on the November 2018 ballot, holding that Rubino abused his discretion by failing to certify the sufficiency and validity of the petition to the board by the August 8 deadline. After the August 8 deadline passed with no action on this initiative, the petition committee filed this mandamus action. The Supreme Court granted relief, holding (1) Ohio Rev. Code 731.28, rather than Article XIV of the Solon City Charter, imposed a duty on Rubino to certify the initiative petition to the board; and (2) the committee was entitled to its costs and reasonable attorney fees. View "State ex rel. Harris v. Rubino" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this expedited relations case based on laches and denied the relator’s motion for leave to supplement the evidence. Relator, Citizens for Responsible Green Government, sought a writ of mandamus to compel Respondents, the City of Green, the City’s Finance Director, and the Summit County Board of Elections, to place a referendum on the November 6, 2018 general election ballot. The finance director declared the referendum petition “facially invalid and insufficient” on June 11, 2018, and the relator filed this mandamus complaint on August 6, fifty-six days later. The Supreme Court held (1) prejudice exists for purposes of a laches analysis in election cases when the relator files the complaint so close in time to the ninety-day cut off that expediting the proceedings becomes a practical necessity; and (2) laches barred the relief requested in this case due to the committee’s failure to exercise any diligence whatsoever. View "State ex rel. Citizens for Responsible Green Government v. City of Green" on Justia Law

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In this action alleging that improprieties occurred during the recount of votes in sixteen Muskingum County precincts and seeking writs of mandamus to certify official election results that excluded all ballots cast in those sixteen precincts, the Supreme Court sua sponte dismissed the amended complaint for failure to state a claim. After the amended complaint was filed, Defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. The Supreme Court denied the motion but, based on its independent review, sua sponte dismissed the amended complaint for failure to state a claim because the relators failed to allege facts sufficient to establish causation - an essential element of undoing the election results. The Court then denied all eight remaining motions as moot. View "State ex rel. Leneghan v. Husted" on Justia Law

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In this expedited elections case, the Supreme Court granted a writ of prohibition to prevent the Delaware County Board of Elections (the Board) from placing a township zoning referendum on the November 2018 ballot, holding that the referendum petition lacked sufficient signatures for placement on the ballot. The Board found that the petition had 127 valid signatures, eleven more than necessary, and certified the referendum to the November 2018 ballot. After their protest was rejected by the Board, protestors filed this prohibition action. The Supreme Court granted a writ of prohibition and ordered the Board to remove the referendum from the ballot, holding (1) one of the part-petitions was invalid because a person other than the circulator indicated the number of signatures that the circulator had witnessed; and (2) without the signatures on that part-petition, the referendum lacked sufficient signatures and could not proceed to the ballot. View "State ex rel. McCann v. Delaware County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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In this original action brought under Article II, Section 1g of the Ohio Constitution, the Supreme Court sustained the challenge brought by Relators regarding an initiative petition to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the November 6, 2018 ballot, concluding that Relators showed that Ohio law required invalidation of the petition. The proposed constitutional amendment at issue was called the “Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Amendment.” Relators - the Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Committee and its individual members and Secretary of State Jon Husted - argued in part that the petition must be invalidated because several circulation managers failed to comply with Ohio Rev. Code 3501.381(A). The Supreme Court invalidated the petition, holding that Relators demonstrated violations of section 3501.381(A) and that the constitutional challenges to that statute were without merit. View "Ohio Renal Ass’n v. Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection Amendment Committee" on Justia Law

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In this expedited election case, the Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by Heaven Guest seeking to compel Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and the Columbiana County Board of Elections to place her name on the ballot on the November 6, 2018 ballot as an independent candidate for judge of the Columbiana County Court of Common Pleas, holding that Guest failed to show by clear an convincing evidence that Husted abused his discretion in finding that Guest remained “affiliated with the Democratic Party” and denying Guest’s nominating petition. Specifically, the Court held that Guest failed to show that Husted abused his discretion or disregarded the law when he rejected her petition. View "State ex rel. Guest v. Husted" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction the complaint filed by Relator seeking a writ of mandamus to compel Respondents, the Ohio Secretary of State, the Franklin County Board of Elections, and the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, to preserve digital ballot images created by voting equipment used in the May 8, 2018 election. Relator alleged that the digital ballot images were public records that, under Ohio Rev. Code 149.351(A), may not be removed, destroyed, or disposed of, and that elections officials were under an affirmative duty, under 52 U.S.C. 20701, to preserve these records. The Supreme Court dismissed the complaint, holding that Relator was attempting to prevent an injury that has not yet occurred by that she anticipates will occur, which request was better suited for an action seeking a request for a writ of mandamus in the nature of a prohibitory injunction, over which this Court does not have original jurisdiction. View "State ex rel. Gadell-Newton v. Husted" on Justia Law