Tim Burke

tim burke alex triantafilou
Courtesy of Burke and Triantafilou

Two guys, Tim and Alex, who would fuss and fight with each other on the Hamilton County Board of Elections every once in a while (OK, quite a bit) knew how to put their partisan differences aside at the end of the day.

Unheard of in this age of uncivil talk and smart aleck tweets in politics.

Provided

An angry exchange broke out Tuesday morning among members of the Hamilton County Board of Elections over accusations of a election law violation by Anderson Township Trustee Andrew Pappas.

Anderson Township

It will be up to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to decide whether Anderson Township trustee Andrew Pappas can be subpoenaed to appear before the Hamilton County Board of Elections to answer questions about his possibly illegal handling of anti-sales tax petitions in July.

ohio voter purge
AFGE / Flickr Creative Commons

In Hamilton County – and in large urban counties all over Ohio – Republicans and Democrats have been arguing about the practice of purging voter rolls ever since Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted became Ohio's chief election officer in 2011.

connie pillich gwen mcfarlin
Connie Pillich, Gwen McFarlin / Provided

In the end, it was no contest. The team of former state representative Connie Pillich and Springfield Township trustee Gwen McFarlin have been elected as the new co-chairs of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

tim burke
Manley Burke LPA / Provided

Saturday, the Hamilton County Democratic Central Committee will meet at a union hall in Evendale to choose a successor (or successors) to Tim Burke, who is retiring after 24 years as county party chair. WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about Burke's departure and what the future of the party may look like. 

tim burke
Manley Burke LPA / Provided

Local attorney Tim Burke is retiring as chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, a position he has held for 24 years. The Hamilton County Democratic Central Committee, made up of precinct executives, will vote on his replacement June 9.

tim burke
Manley Burke LPA / Provided

For those who follow Cincinnati politics, from either side of the aisle, it is really rather hard to imagine: Very soon, Tim Burke will no longer carry the title of chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

So, it looks as if the Hamilton County Board of Elections will pull out of downtown and move to Norwood at the end of the year.

If, that is, the county commissioners go along with the somewhat more expensive price tag attached to leasing the Central Parke offices on the former site of the General Motors plant.

Elections can be messy things.

And, by elections, we don’t mean campaigns – those are worse than messy; they are legalized madness. What we mean is the actual organizing of an election,  the running of polling places and the process of counting the votes.

Local boards of elections, for the most part, do a superb job of pulling them off.

But we have been covering politics and elections for over 40 years; and can’t remember a single one where something didn’t go wrong on Election Day – either by human error or technology failure or both.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Suspended juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter, convicted of a felony last year and facing a criminal trial in January, has taken out petitions to run as a Democrat for her now-vacant seat on the Hamilton County juvenile court bench.

She will not be an official candidate until she files the petitions by the Dec. 16 deadline and has her petitions certified by the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Keith Lanser / Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

The most contentious issue on the ballot this November in Cincinnati centers around something almost everyone agrees on – that the city of Cincinnati has a very good park system.

But the proponents of Issue 22 – a charter amendment that would place a permanent one mill tax in the city charter for park improvements – believe they could be even better.

It is looking more and more probable that when the Ohio Democratic Party’s executive committee meets Tuesday night in Columbus, it will pick Cincinnati’s David Pepper as the new state party chairman.

And Pepper – the former city council member and Hamilton County commissioner who ran and lost the race for Ohio Attorney General this year – will then have the unenviable task of picking up the pieces of a political party that was shattered in this year’s election.

Yes, the Nov. 4 election was a complete train wreck for the Ohio Democratic Party.

The gubernatorial candidate, Ed FitzGerald, was so abysmally weak that he took only 33 percent of the vote again incumbent Republican John Kasich – the worst drubbing of a Democratic candidate for governor since an unknown state senator named Rob Burch had 25 percent of the vote against popular GOP incumbent George Voinovich in 1994.

Ohio’s director of elections has told Hamilton County Democratic chairman Tim Burke that a voter information poster Burke objects to must be posted in all polling places.

Burke, who is also chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, wrote an e-mail to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted asking if the board was required to put up the two-foot by three-post with Husted’s name in large letters at the bottom.

Husted is a candidate for re-election; and Burke told WVXU he believed it amounts to electioneering inside polling places, which is not allowed.

Howard Wilkinson

Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke believes a voter information poster for polling places sent out by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is a form of electioneering.

The Republican Husted is a candidate for re-election.

The secretary of state's office sent two posters to Ohio's eighty-eight boards of elections, asking them to be placed in polling places.

One is an 11 by 17 inch poster encouraging voting that shows the work of a fifth grade student who won a statewide poster contest sponsored by Husted.

Sean Patrick Feeney said this afternoon he has rejected attempts by Democratic Party leaders to get him to step aside in the Hamilton County commission race for former mayor Charlie Luken.

"I'm committed to this; and I am going to continue on,'' said Feeney, a technology consultant who lives in North College Hill.

Earlier in the day, Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke said he wanted Feeney, a first-time candidate, to step aside so the Democrats could run former Cincinnati mayor Charlie Luken against Republican incumbent Chris Monzel.

For years now, those people who cast early ballots in person at the Hamilton County Board of Elections have done so by going to the board’s offices at 824 Broadway downtown.

If a majority of the county commissioners and the two Republicans on the board of elections get their way, they will have to head to Mt. Airy to do that.

And a growing chorus of voices – mostly, but not entirely, Democrats, and most of the African-American leadership of Cincinnati – are saying that would be a raw deal for the thousands of voters who depend on public transportation to get around.

Democrats and Republicans on the Hamilton County Board of Elections are split over whether to move their headquarters from downtown to the former Mercy Mount Airy Hospital because of the issue of early in-person voting.

The Democrats on the board - Tim Burke and Caleb Faux - say moving to the Kipling road building would make it extremely hard for voters without cars to get to the board, which has one bus line. Many voters would have to take multiple buses to get to Mount Airy, they say.

The Democrats on the Hamilton County Board of Elections have asked the Ohio Secretary of State and Ohio Attorney general to investigate whether county prosecutor Joe Deters voted improperly in the November 2012 election.

Democrats Tim Burke, the board of elections chairman, and board member Caleb Faux asked for the investigation after the two Republicans on the board of elections, Alex Triantafilou and Chip Gerhardt, refused to allow the matter to be discussed at a board of elections meeting.

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