Editor’s note: Julie Ehemann has shared this letter that she sent recently to Steve Wagner in response to his letter to the Shelby County Commissioners concerning the decision by the Shelby County Board of Elections to appeal a court ruling that will allow Mike Barhorst’s name to appear on the election ballot.
Dear Councilman Wagner:
I am writing to respond to a letter that I received on Sept. 25, just one day after our meeting and within hours if its being printed in the local newspaper.
In your letter, you refer to the Board of Elections lawsuit regarding the petition of the current mayor, Mike Barhorst, and you urge me to “reconsider this decision.”
This was not a decision that I made nor is it a decision that I had any say in making. Unlike the city, which operates under their written charter, the county operates as an arm of the state and operates under the rules created by the Legislature known as the Ohio Revised Code. If you review the ORC Section 3501, you will find the commissioners do not select the board, nor do we determine the pay, nor do we determine their job duties. All of this authority is given to the Secretary of State with the commissioners duties including only the funding of the department in a manner that they can carry out the duties prescribed by the Secretary of State.
When you visited me, you asked if I had heard the Board of Elections intended to appeal the recent court decision. I stated that I had as I had received a courtesy phone call informing me of the matter and the basis for their decision. At no time was I asked for my opinion as to the validity of this course of action nor did I offer it.
I find it unfortunate that the November elections are being disrupted by the current petition process, but every candidate is subject to the same rules, and I sympathize with every candidate that had their petition denied for failure to follow the rules. But again, I have no authority in this matter.
It is a shame you did not ask about the process or potential solutions prior to your letter-writing campaign. I would have been more than happy to inform you that I have contacted the Secretary’s office asking that they provide guidance to our local Board of Elections.
Your letter indicates you sent a copy to the Secretary of State. Your letter might have been more effective addressed to the Secretary as he is the one that can intervene.
As you stated in your letter, we really can be more effective if we work together.
Julie L Ehemann
Shelby County Commissioner