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."