Candidates need recourse

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 25, 2010

The decision may be correct but the system itself appears to be flawed.

That is the situation involving Chesapeake resident John Ater, an Independent candidate for Lawrence County Auditor, and the local board of elections.

The board unanimously voted to toss out Ater’s candidacy because of several errors tied to his petitions including an incorrect address and improper signatures.

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Ater submitted petitions with 313 signatures. Only 199 signatures are required, but the board of elections could only certify 189 of those.

Based on the information that was presented, the board made the right decision because the letter of the law wasn’t followed.

But that doesn’t mean the process is perfect. In fact, there seems to be a fatal flaw here and across the state.

Candidates have no real recourse in a situation like this. There is no appeal. There is no impartial arbitrator. There is no help from the Ohio Secretary of State.

That is a lot of power and a lot of finality given to a board of elections, especially when you consider that none of these individuals are elected and the average voter has no way to hold them accountable.

State leaders should take a long, hard look at this and implement some sort of system that would help ensure that everything is conducted fairly and that personal agendas cannot be a factor.

We don’t believe that anything inappropriate occurred in this case but the potential for abuse is there.

Having an appeals board on a local or state level would solve this problem.

Ensuring the fairness of all Ohio elections has to be a top priority.