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Democratic petitioners win Ohio Supreme Court ruling to get on ballot

Dan Konik
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The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled in favor of six Democratic politicians who asked the court to step in, and allow them to be on the ballot for Ohio’s primary on August 2.

The potential state legislative candidates, William DeMora, Anita Somani, Elizabeth Thien, Leronda Jackson, Bridgette Tupes, and Gary Martin argued in court that they should be allowed on the ballot even though they did not file their candidacy paperwork until after the February 2 deadline.

The February 2 deadline was set 90 days prior to the May 3 primary. However, state legislative races were removed from the May 3 ballot and rescheduled for a special August 2 primary due to a delay in new House and Senate district maps.

A prolonged debate over maps between the Ohio Redistricting Commission and the Ohio Supreme Court ended with an intervention from the federal court. A panel of federal judges, on May 28, implemented unconstitutional district maps — paving the way for the state to hold the August 2 primary using those district lines.

The six candidates said they filed their paperwork 90 days prior to an August 2 primary. A directive from Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, told local boards of elections that they could only accept paperwork from candidates who filed before the initial February 2 deadline.

The Ohio Supreme Court's announcement of a decision said the request was granted to compel LaRose and the local boards of elections to accept the declarations of candidacy and petitions for those six contenders — but limited the ruling to only those six potential candidates.

Timeline: Follow the twists and turns of Ohio's redistricting process

Other lawsuits have been filed as a result of the redistricting delay.

Jennifer Giroux, who wanted to run for an Ohio House district in the Cincinnati area, filed a similar lawsuit in federal court. The federal court denied Giroux’s request.

Rep. Adam Miller (D-Columbus) filed a challenge in the Ohio Supreme Court arguing that LaRose’s directive also did not give prospective candidates the constitutionally-required amount of time to move into a new district.

However, Miller and LaRose filed a joint stipulation to have the case dismissed because the Franklin County Board of Elections ended up certifying Miller as a candidate for the new House District 6.

The August 2 primary election will determine the political party nominees for the November general election. The deadline to register to vote in the August 2 primary is July 5.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.