SIDNEY — On Friday, the Shelby County Board of Elections responded to a lawsuit filed in the Shelby County Common Pleas Court against them, and asked for the case to be dismissed.
On Aug. 21, Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to certify his nominating petition and statement of candidacy for the Nov. 3 election.
Barhorst filed the suit in response to a ruling made earlier that week by the board of elections rejecting his nominating petition.
The board didn’t certify his petition because “the Circulator Statement indicated the number of signatures witnessed but contained more signatures appearing on the petition. … A circulator cannot witness fewer signatures than what appears on the petition.”
In his suit it says, “Barhorst, however, accurately represented that the petition contained 29, rather than 30 signatures, since one of the signers of the petition both printed and signed his name as permitted” by an Ohio Supreme Court case.
The board denies this allegation in their response.
Barhort’s suit continues, “The board’s position appears to be that Barhorst should have stricken the printed name from the petition. … Barhorst, however, accurately reported the number of signatures as that term is defined under Ohio Supreme Court case law and Ohio statute. There are indeed 29 signatures on the petition, as the printed name does not constitute a signature under Ohio law,” the suit says.
The board of elections responded to this and to several other allegations that he relies on as outdated case law.
One of Barhorst’s claims in his suit is that the board does not have an appeal process in place for situations like this when a petition for candidacy is not certified, so his only choice was to take action through the court. In the boards response they agree that they do not have such a process and that filing a suit was his only other choice of trying to reverse their decision.
In the response, the board also lists their defenses. Those include:
• They say Barhorst, “is not entitled to attorneys’ fees.”
• That he “has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
• That his “claim is barred by the Doctrine of Laches,” meaning that there was an unreasonable delay by the plaintiff in bringing the claim.
• The board “reserves the right to add additional defenses as the case proceeds.”
Now each parties attorneys will meet and discuss the case, according to the Shelby County Common Pleas Court administrator. There won’t be any hearings, just a final decision made by Judge James Stevenson in the next few of weeks.
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN