Seeking opinions right move

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 2, 2015

Many things can affect the outcome of elections, as we have seen over the past several years. Things from “hanging chads” in the 2000 presidential election in Florida and accusations of voter fraud seemingly every election cycle.

However, the election in the upcoming mayoral race in the city of Ironton could be affected because of the differences between the city’s charter and the Ohio Revised Code.

These differences prompted the Lawrence County Board of Elections (BOE) to seek the opinion of the county prosecuting attorney who then sought an attorney general’s opinion. This was the right decision by the BOE and the prosecutors to ensure all the proper procedures are followed in the Ironton mayor’s race this November.

According to the city’s charter in section 3.03, “in order to be elected, a candidate must receive at least 40 percent of the total votes cast for mayor in the election. In the event that no candidate receives at least forty percent of the total votes cast for mayor, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall participate in a run-off special election to be held two weeks after the date of the regular election”.

However, the potential issues arise because section 3501.01 of the Ohio Revised code on special elections states “a special election may be held only on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February, May, August, or November, or on the day authorized by a particular municipal or county charter for the holding of a primary election.”

While not all candidates have filed for the race, with potentially seven individuals seeking the office, the likelihood of one candidate receiving 40 percent of the vote could be impossible.

Because a potential run-off election would not be a primary election, there is a clear difference in the laws of the state and the city.

Ultimately, seeking the opinions now will help alleviate many headaches for the city and its residents later.