By ED RUNYAN
Jim Traficant will not appear on the ballot in November as a write-in candidate for U.S. Congress.
But members of the committee supporting Traficant said Monday their next stop may the Ohio Supreme Court if local and state elections officials don’t certify Traficant as an independent candidate.
Werner Lange of Newton Falls, a mem- ber of the Traficant committee, said Monday the commit- tee didn’t file to have Traficant appear as a write-in because Ohio law does not allow it.
Monday was the deadline to file as a write-in candidate.
The Ohio Secretary of State’s office, however, said Monday that Traficant could have filed as a write-in because Ohio Revised Code statutes that appear to ban him from filing as a write-in and as an independent at the same time don’t apply to federal positions.
As an example, U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson of St. Clairsville was a successful write-in candidate for the 6th congressional district in the November 2006 election after failing to turn in enough valid nominating petitions, said Luisa Barone, spokesperson for Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.
Even though the Traficant committee did not file as a write-in, Lange and committee member Linda Kovachik did appear at the Trumbull Board of Elections office Monday just before the filing deadline.
They asked elections-board employees whether Brunner’s office had issued a decision on whether to break the tie vote taken two weeks ago regarding Traficant’s petitions to be an independent candidate.
Workers told them no response has been received from Brunner.
Barone said Monday the secretary of state’s office eventually will make a decision on the matter by breaking the tie vote or sending the question back to the Trumbull elections board, but she said it’s not known when that decision will be made.
The Trumbull elections board split 2-2 on whether to certify its most recent count of valid petitions from Trumbull, Mahoning, Summit and Portage counties. That sent the question to the secretary of state for a tiebreaker.
Lange and Kovachik have argued that many of the Traficant signatures ruled invalid should have been allowed. The committee’s work caused each of the elections boards to revise their number of valid signatures. Traficant is 31 votes short of being eligible. He started out 107 votes short.
Traficant is a former congressman who spent seven years in prison for bribery, racketeering, filing false income taxes and obstruction of justice for crimes he committed while he was a congressman.