YOUNGSTOWN — Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s office wants to take another look at the eligibility of write-in candidates, but it won’t help independents already kicked off the ballot.
State law forbids former independents to run as write-in candidates, said Jeff Ortega, a Brunner spokesman.
A March 24, 2006, advisory from the office states in part: “A board of elections shall not accept for filing the declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate of a person seeking to become a candidate if that person, for the same election, has already filed a declaration of candidacy, a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate, or a nominating petition.”
That means the eight independent candidates who sought seats on Youngstown City Council and seven for various city and village positions in Trumbull County can’t run as write-ins.
Independent candidates lose that label if they then vote in a partisan primary or serve on a party’s central or executive committees, according to an advisory issued by Brunner on June 4, about a month after the May 7 independent filing deadline. That decision was as a result of a 2006 federal court decision.
Brunner’s office is looking at the legal issues surrounding who can be a write-in candidate, Ortega said. That second look won’t impact those candidates already decertified or disqualified, Ortega said. An advisory should be done in a few weeks, he said.
Under the impression Brunner’s upcoming advisory may impact former independents seeking to run as write-ins, the Mahoning County Board of Elections decided to wait for that opinion before accepting write-in forms from independent candidates it decertified.
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