Ohio's Supreme Court administered a unanimous comeuppance to Summit County's Board of Elections and ordered to put former State Senator Kevin Coughlin on the November ballot for Stow Municipal Court Clerk.
Coughlin took the Board to court after it rejected his candidacy on the grounds prior races as a Republican made him ineligible for a non-partisan position. The Court ruled there's no regulation barring those with a partisan history from running for a non-partisan job.
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(Kevin Coughlin) In a unanimous decision, the Ohio Supreme Court today issued an order to compel the Summit County Board of Elections to place former State Senator Kevin Coughlin on the November ballot as a candidate for Stow Municipal Clerk of Courts.
On July 15, the Summit County Board of Elections rejected Coughlin's nominating petitions to run for the office based on its position that Coughlin's history as a Republican disqualifies him from running as a non-partisan. Ohio law, however, authorizes non-partisan candidacies for municipal judges and clerks of court. Candidates who seek to be nominated as non-partisans are not required to be unaffiliated with a political party.
The Court's decision overturns the Board's action. Coughlin issued the following statement:
"I'm grateful to the Ohio Supreme Court for upholding my right to run.
"The party bosses in Summit County disregarded the law and tried to silence me because I am running to modernize our court. That means ending their influence in the clerk's office. Now nothing can stop the voters from having a chance to elect someone who will run this nonpartisan judicial office as a professional.
"If it was the intention of the bosses to slow my campaign down, they failed. We have been campaigning hard all throughout the court district and I'm encouraged by the support we have received including the endorsements of several Republican and Democratic community leaders.
"The judges of the Stow Municipal Court have been doing an excellent job. I'm looking forward to working with them to fix our broken clerk's office and better serve our communities."
A former Ohio Secretary of State will help the Summit County Board of Elections sort out a lawsuit over ballot access.
The board voted Thursday to hire ex-Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner as an elections expert.
Former state senator Kevin Coughlin has sued the Summit elections board, over a decision that denied him access as a non-partisan candidate in the Stow Municipal Court clerk's rate.
The move to hire Brunner comes despite her past decision not to reappoint Summit County Republican chairman Alex Arshinkoff to the elections board.
Arshinkoff was returned to the board by Republican Jon Husted, the current secretary of state.
The fight over former State Senator Kevin Coughlin's bid to run as a non-partisan candidate for Clerk of Stow Municipal Court is heading for a showdown -- but not in Stow, and not in Akron.
Coughlin is appealing the decision by Summit County's Board of Elections to remove him from the ballot in disputes over his status as non-partisan and squabbling over campaign report filings with the Ohio Supreme Court.
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More precincts mean you could have a new voting location if you're a Summit County voter.
The Summit County Board of Elections approved 240 precincts at 111 voting locations for the September 10th primary, at its meeting Monday.
Board of Elections director Joe Masich says that they'll be sending out those orange postcards soon.
"By August 15th, I believe, we'll be mailing out the famous orange postcards," Masich tells AkronNewsNow.com, "that tell the folks what their ward and precinct is, and what their polling location and address of their polling location will be...for the primary election and elections to come until they have to be changed again for whatever reason."
Masich says the polling place information will also be up on the Board of Elections website later this week.
Those in Summit County not voting until November will learn their voting locations in the next few weeks.
"And we'll get those cards in the mail by late September for the November election," Masich says, "so everybody in the county will know their proper ward, precinct and polling location in time to vote."
There'll be a total of 420 precincts in Summit County, the number increased to reduce long lines that were seen last November.
September's primaries will affect the cities of Akron, Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, Stow and Tallmadge, though not all voters will have a primary ballot in those cities.
There's just one issue on the special election ballot Tuesday, August 6th, a controversial Norton charter proposal dealing with sewers.
Former State Senator Kevin Coughlin has filed his designation of who his campaign treasurer will be as he appeals an earlier Summit County Elections Board decision to not allow him to run as a non-partisan candidate for Stow Municipal Clerk of Court.
Elections Director Joe Masich confirms Coughlin filed the paperwork Wednesday morning.
The Summit County Board of Elections was looking into whether Coughlin was violating election rules by not having a local campaign committee or treasurer.
Masich tells AkronNewsNow " They were questioning because they know he's had campaign activity since he filed his nominating petitions back in May. They were questioning how all that could be transpiring without any designation of treasurer being filed here at the Board.
Masich says the Board is waiting for more input before making any further decisions on the Coughlin campaign. " The Board had inquired of the prosecutor's office what action we could or should take based on the information we had. We would proceed from there, hold a hearing and refer any findings to the elections commission, and it would go from there."
Coughlin is continuing his campaign while he fights the ruling in court. He still has a committee formed and on file with the Secretary of State from when he held other offices.
The Summit County Board of Elections is looking into whether former State Sen. Kevin Coughlin is violating election rules by not having a local campaign committee or treasurer.
Coughlin was ruled off the ballot as an independent for Stow Municipal Court Clerk but is continuing his campaign while he fights the ruling in court. He still has a committee formed and on file with the Ohio Secretary of State from when he held other offices.
On the Web: www.ohio.com
Another battle royale brewing in Summit County, this time between Republican factions but Democrats also have their fingers in the pie. The County's Board of Elections today dumped former State Senator Kevin Coughlin's petitions for Stow Municipal Court Clerk, because he was running non-partisan. The Board is allowing incumbent Judge Kim Hoover to run as non-partisan, saying there's a difference between judge and clerk positions. Coughlin's promising a court fight.
In a statement, Coughlin said "...both local political parties banded together to deny my legal right to run for Clerk of Courts. They may be afraid to face me on Election Day, but they cannot deny my basic rights. In voting to reject my petitions to run, the members of the Summit County Board of Elections abused their power and disregarded the law."
"This issue is far from over. I will immediately seek a court order forcing the Board of Elections to certify my petitions," Coughlin said. "In addition, those who abused their power and ignored the law will be held to account. My campaign for Clerk of Courts will continue on without interruption while this matter is resolved."
Five local candidates have been disqualified from the September primary election ballot in Akron.
Ward 5 candidate Natural Hunka Kaboom was ruled off the ballot as a candidate in Ward 5 because of an insufficient number of signatures.
Other candidates disqualified for the same reason were Mike Adams, another Ward 5 democratic candidate, Michael Rogers in Ward 6, Keith John Elrod in Ward 9 and, Michelle Baker, a candidate for council-at large in Cuyahoga Falls by the Summit County Elections Board at its meeting Monday.
Robert DeVitis, a Republican candidate for Ward 2 in Akron , withdrew before the board meeting.
The disqualifications will mean that some candidates who had primary opposition now have none. Councilman Jim Hurley will be unopposed in Ward 2 and two Republican incumbents, Jeff Iula and Carol Ann Klinger, will not be challenged for their at-large seats in Cuyahoga Falls.
The Supreme Court has struck down an Arizona law requiring voters to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote.
Ohio does not have such a law, but voters in Ohio have to affirm that they are U.S. citizens when registering.
Summit County elections director Joe Masich says that means those who answer "yes" fraudulently could be charged under the Ohio Revised Code.
"On the voter registration form," Masich tells AkronNewsNow.com, "you sign a statement at the end, where you sign your signature on your the registration form, that you declare under penalty of falsification that I am a citizen of the United States."
Masich says local elections officials, if they discover or are notified of possible fraud, would bring it to the attention of prosecutors.
A number of Summit County voters had something to vote on today, and the votes are now all in in Summit and Portage Counties.
The May 7 ballot featured a number of school issues, including levy requests in the Barberton, Coventry, Cuyahoga Falls, Manchester, and Mogadore districts.
Winners include Barberton, which passed a 8.45 mill additional emergency levy that superintendent Patty Cleary says will forestall possible cuts in elementary art and music programs, end the possible doubling of pay to participate fees, and which will restore busing to a 1-mile radius in the district starting next school year. Buses in the Barberton district were picking up students 2-miles from school under state minimum guidelines.
Efforts to get an issue passed in Coventry finally bore fruit; an additional six-mill levy will help consolidate schools and go toward building a new high school. The measure passed by a comfortable 11 percentage point margin.
Voters in the Manchester district passed a 9.8 mill renewal levy.
Cuyahoga Falls voters rejected a 3 mill additional levy that school superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols tells AkronNewsNow would have increased safety, security and technology in the district and updated school buses. Dr. Nichols says he's "disappointed" with the final, unofficial returns, which have voters rejecting the levy by a 57 to 43 percent margin.
The final, unofficial returns showed Mogadore's levy going down to defeat, with voters in both Summit and Portage Counties rejecting the 5.9 mill additional levy by a vote of 350 to 252.
In Portage County, returns show Kent City Schools' additional levy winning with about 61% of the vote.
The final, unofficial results from the Summit County Board of Elections and the Portage County Board of Elections are shown below.
SUMMARY REPORT 2013 Special Election Final Unofficial Run Date:05/07/13 Summit County RUN TIME:09:27 PM May 7, 2013 VOTES PERCENT PRECINCTS COUNTED (OF 67) . . . . . 67 100.00 REGISTERED VOTERS - TOTAL . . . . . 72,965 BALLOTS CAST - TOTAL. . . . . . . 14,228 VOTER TURNOUT - TOTAL . . . . . . 19.50 Issue 1 - City of Macedonia Proposed Tax Levy - (Renewal) 1 mil, Fire, 5 years (Vote for Not More Than ) 1 (WITH 6 OF 6 PRECINCTS COUNTED) FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 412 79.54 AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 106 20.46 Issue 2 - Village of Reminderville Proposed Tax Levy - (Replace) 3 mil, Road, 5 years (Vote for Not More Than ) 1 (WITH 2 OF 2 PRECINCTS COUNTED) FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 36 57.14 AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 27 42.86 Issue 3 - Barberton CSD Proposed Tax Levy - (Add) - 8.45 mil, Emergency, 5 yrs (Vote for Not More Than ) 1 (WITH 15 OF 15 PRECINCTS COUNTED) FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 2,378 54.63 AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 1,975 45.37 Issue 4 - Cuyahoga Falls CSD Proposed Tax Levy - (Add) - Improvements, 3 mil, 5 years (Vote for Not More Than ) 1 (WITH 26 OF 26 PRECINCTS COUNTED) AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 2,091 57.22 FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 1,563 42.78 Issue 5 - Coventry LSD Bond/Tax Issue - (Add) - 6 mil total, Const, 34 years (Vote for Not More Than ) 1 (WITH 15 OF 15 PRECINCTS COUNTED) FOR THE BOND ISSUE AND LEVY . . . . 2,184 55.22 AGAINST THE BOND ISSUE AND LEVY . . . 1,771 44.78 Issue 6 - Manchester LSD Proposed Tax Levy - (Renewal) - 9.8 mil, Cur. Exp., Cont (Vote for Not More Than ) 1 (WITH 6 OF 6 PRECINCTS COUNTED) FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 711 72.04 AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 276 27.96 Issue 7 - Mogadore LSD Proposed Tax Levy - (Add) - 5.9 mil, Cur. Exp., Cont. (Vote for Not More Than ) 1 (WITH 2 OF 2 PRECINCTS COUNTED) AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 337 57.41 FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 250 42.59 Issue 8 - Canal Fulton Library Proposed Tax Levy - (Add) - 1 mil, Cur. Exp., Continuing (Vote for Not More Than ) 1 (WITH 5 OF 5 PRECINCTS COUNTED) AGAINST THE TAX LEVY. . . . . . . 69 63.30 FOR THE TAX LEVY . . . . . . . . 40 36.70 ----
Election Summary Report
|Registered Voters 102190 - Cards Cast 9066 8.87%||Num. Report Precinct 123 - Num. Reporting 123 100.00%|
|Issue 9 - Mogadore Local SD (Additional)|
|Number of Precincts||2|
|FOR THE TAX LEVY||117||36.79%|
|AGAINST THE TAX LEVY||201 63.21%|
The Summit County Board of Elections wants answers about the still-open campaign fund of the late Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Brenda Burnham Unruh, who died in 2011.
As long as a campaign committee exists, state law mandates that campaign finance reports be filed, regardless of activity between election cycles and regardless of whether the candidate or office holder is still alive.
"The treasurer - not the candidate, not the committee - the treasurer is the one legally responsible for all documents filed with the board of elections," said Elections Director Joe Masich.
A hearing held today produced no answers. In fact, it may have become more complicated when Keep Judge Brenda Burnham Unruh Committee Treasurer Scott Gale told the board that he was never given signature rights on the committee's bank account. That's a problem because the board needs the bank records to conduct an audit on the account before it can be terminated. According to Gale, Uhruh's widower is unaware of any bank statements or other documents. Gale can't access them. Nobody seems to know where to find the former treasurer (who could possibly access the account).
"They never perfected the bank documents to have him (Gale) any signatory control at the bank," said Masich. "Apparently, just the judge and maybe her previous treasurer were signatories on the account."
Unruh asked Gale to be the treasurer in 2008, the last year she ran for office. According to the board of elections website, Gale filed forms in 2011 and in 2012, about nine month's after Unruh's death. At that time, there was $998 left in the campaign account. Gale told the board today that exorbitant inactivity fees have probably reduced that amount significantly; however, his figures show that the balance actually increased about $200 from 2010 to 2011 even though there is no indication of contributions.
The board, notorious for tie votes that must be settled by the secretary of state, offered another decision to Jon Husted today. The board is divided over whether they should subpoena the account records from US Bank.