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Traficant petitions remain on hold

Published: Wed, August 11, 2010 @ 12:07 a.m.

Brunner must break certification deadlock




Supporters of Jim Traficant’s bid to run as an independent candidate for the 17th District congressional seat held by Democrat Tim Ryan of Niles considered it a victory Tuesday when the Trumbull County Board of Elections refused to certify new petition numbers.

The 2-2 vote — with former county Democratic Party Chairman Chris Michelakis and former county Republican Party Chairman Craig Bonar voting no — means Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner will be asked to break the tie.

Voting for certification were elections-board members Ralph Infante, a Democrat mayor of Niles; and Kathi Creed, Trumbull County Republican Party chairwoman.

Kelly Pallante, board of elections director, said revised numbers from various elections boards show Traficant is 31 signatures short of having enough to get on the ballot in November. After review, Trumbull County has ruled 11 signatures to be valid that it earlier had said were not valid.

“The secretary of state has high- paid attorneys. I feel just let them handle it,” Michelakis said after the meeting.

“Legally, it looks like we could have turned it down [Traficant’s ability to run as an independent], but that’s also a question that needs to be answered,” Michelakis said.

Werner Lange of Newton Falls, a Traficant supporter, pleaded with the board to refuse to certify the current petition numbers, saying there are still too many unanswered questions regarding signatures that were ruled invalid — especially in Mahoning County.

Lange said 62 signatures ruled invalid in Mahoning County should have been ruled valid.

Ohio elections law allows an elections board to certify signatures even if they don’t perfectly match the signature from the voter’s registration card, as long as the address matches, Lange said.

The responses he has received from Mahoning County’s elections board have not adequately answered that and other questions, Lange said.

Thomas McCabe, Mahoning County Board of Elections director; and Joyce Kale-Pesta, deputy director, could not be reached Tuesday by The Vindicator to comment.

As for Summit County, that county’s elections board is providing only an estimate of the number of votes cast in the 17th Congressional District in the November 2006 election — which factors into how many petition signatures Traficant needed — because the software used there didn’t record the total.

“Nobody knows how many people voted in the 17th District,” Lange said.

James Saker, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor who advises the elections board, said the Trumbull elections board has certified numbers of valid signatures from Mahoning, Summit and Portage counties — plus its own numbers — and “has the authority” to certify that the total number is 31 signatures short.

After submitting the tie vote to the secretary of state and getting back a response, the Trumbull elections board might have another meeting later this month to beat the Aug. 24 deadline for setting the November slate of candidates, Pallante said.

Traficant still could file by 4 p.m. Aug. 23 to run as a write-in candidate, Pallante said.


11970mach1(1005 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

"After submitting the tie vote to the secretary of state and getting back a response,the Trumbull elections board might have another meeting"

Uh, since you know there was a response, how about filling us in what it was? A directive to do something specific? Confidential? Tell Jimbo too bad? Stop changing the numbers necessary for Jimbo to make the ballot?

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2Overtaxed_Voter(14 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago


It isn't "Traficant and his group" that keeps changing the threshold and unit of measure needed to get the candidate on the ballot..

As the article noted, Summit County "ESTIMATED" the number of votes cast in the 17th Congressional District in the November 2006 election which factors into how many petition signatures Traficant needed because the software used there didn’t record the total.

Then you have Mahoning County which ruled 62 signatures on the election petitions to be invalid, even though Ohio elections law allows an elections board to certify signatures even if they don’t perfectly match the signature from the voter’s registration card.

In this day and age when "everyone" is allowed to cast a ballot, even without proof of identity, without proof of residency, without proof of citizenship, etc., etc. you still have a Board of Election which came within 1 vote of keeping a candidate who has likely met all of the requirements from having his name appear on the ballot.

You can bet your sweet behind that if this candidate was "Jantiqua" and not "Jim" Traficant, every liberal and ethnic organization in the United States would be marching on the steps of the Trumbull County BOE and in front of Jennifer Bruner's office demanding that the voters NOT BE DISENFRANCHISED!

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3walter_sobchak(2313 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

If the county election board is resposible for counting the votes in all races, why is Summit County providing only an estimate of the vote totals for the 2006 Congressional election? Why do they need software? It seems to me that a final tally of votes had to be determined and recorded somewhere.

Sorry, I'm no Traficant supporter, but this is the $h!t that drives me crazy! The board has a job to perform and it seems to me that accurate vote totals might be at the top of the list. Or, did they just "estimate" the vote tally on election night?

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4Overtaxed_Voter(14 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago


The Summit County BOE is well known to have trouble.

The "Director" is the spouse of the County's elected Fiscal Officer.

In the last election, 'due to an oversight' , the opponent of the BOE Director's husband had his name listed on the ballot as his given name rather than the name he had been listed in all previous elections.

In March of this year, the REPUBLICAN half of the Board had to notify the Secretary of State when a Democratic board staffer placed the petitions for 8 candidates in her desk, forgetting them until after the primary election deadline.

Marijean Donofrio, the board's Democratic director, said she thought the petitions ''were dead'' because they had not been time-stamped before the Feb. 18 filing deadline.

Due to the Republican's efforts, the 8 Democratic candidates were placed on the primary ballot.


A few years ago, the BOE 'lost' every single one of a local Democrat City Councilman's election petitions to run against Akron's Mayor in the primary.

Of course none of the petitions were ever found and the 'opposition' never made it onto the primary ballot.

Let's not even get into the 9,000 absentee ballots from the May, 2010 election that had to be hand re-counted because no one bothered to check the alignment of the ovals prior to printing the opti-scan ballots.

This comes on the heals of running out of ballots in elections last Fall in the county.

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5mrblue(1142 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Nothing more than a group of unqualified people. I would bet that most of them are in those jobs as paybacks for political favors. Corruption is everywhere. Today,nobody cares.

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6Attis(1022 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

At the root of this mess is the fact that no one knows exactly how many votes were cast in 2006 for governor from the 17th Congressional District and no one can get an accurate figure. Since this is the basis for calculating the signature threshold all the figures are nothing more than estimates. And they are all fraudulent. Summit County gave and even certified two estimates on August 5 (45,192 and 44,122); then on August 9 they give and certify only the higher figure. What happened? An attorney from Brunner's staff interfered with the process and evidently forced the higher figure to be submitted. Mahoning County is even worse; they first came up with a concocted figure of 51,100 and then concocted another one of 50,079, even though their own canvass has the vote at a little over 49,000. Something stinks to high heaven here. Somebody obviously does not want Traficant on the ballot - but over 3000 voters in the area who signed his petition do want him on the ballot. The will of the people vs. the will of corrupt, party machines. Who will prevail? Why are those in charge so afraid of the truth and Traficant?

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7Heartland(38 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Jimbo's band of clowns says, "Vote Jimbo and put the con in congress." What a bunch of losers.

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8walter_sobchak(2313 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

It seems to me Traficant has enough signatures by my "estimate". At this point, nothing can Constitutionally bar him from serving; only the wisdom of the people. Put the meglomaniac on the ballot so he can lose and ride off into the sunset for good!

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