Ohio Christian Alliance Stands with Voting Citizens of Medina City and Files Lawsuit to Secure Their Voting Rights
We are here at the Ohio Supreme Court to secure resolution concerning the voting rights of the citizens of Medina City who wrongfully had their signatures invalidated from the referendum petition on Medina City Ordinance 112-19 passed by Medina City Council on July 8, 2019.
When City Council passed Ordinance 112-19, the citizens exercised their right to circulate a petition of referendum to place the measure on the ballot for the people to decide. The Concerned Citizens of Medina City Committee and volunteers collected 1,173 referendum petition signatures and submitted them to Medina City Finance Director Keith Dirham on July 31,
2019. He held the petitions for ten days, and then forwarded them to the Medina County Board of Elections. The Board of Elections reviewed the petitions and then issued its report that 260 petition signatures had been invalidated, bringing the total valid signatures to 939, forty-four short of what is needed to place the measure on the ballot.
However, upon review by the citizens committee after obtaining a public records request of the Board’s findings, it was discovered that 59 signatures had been disqualified for what the board termed “non-matching signatures.” The citizens committee then secured forty-seven sworn affidavits with photocopy ID evidence from petition signers whose signatures had been thus invalidated, attesting that it indeed was their signature on the referendum petition.
On November 18
Marie Nauth, a registered elector in the City of Medina and a signer of the referendum petition, submitted the Petition Protest Appeal along with the forty-seven sworn affidavits with proof of identity to the Medina County Board of Elections. The Medina County Board of Elections took no action in response to the citizens’ request for a hearing. After exhausting every possible avenue of appeal, the voting citizens of Medina City represented in this lawsuit had no recourse but to file suit to secure their voting rights.
It is clear that the rights of these voters are being denied. The forty-seven voters whose signatures were wrongly invalidated, as well as the other signers of the referendum petition were denied their right to the ballot. This is a violation of everything we stand for concerning the integrity of elections. The right of the people’s referendum should not be denied when they have clearly gathered enough signatures to place the referendum on the ballot for the people to decide.
It is our hope that the Court will see the injustice of the actions of the Medina County Board of Elections and local county officials who have been insistent on taking no action and have become tone deaf concerning the fundamental Constitutional right of its citizens to vote.