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Ohio elections chief orders hearing for Traficant

Published: Thu, August 26, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.


Ex-U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.


Jennifer Brunner


Thomas McCabe




Jim Traficant’s bid to be on the November ballot as an independent candidate for Congress received a big lift Wednesday from Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

Brunner, in Columbus, sided with two Trumbull County Board of Elections members who refused to certify the most recent accounting of petitions filed by Traficant, saying the Mahoning County’s elections board needs to re-examine its counts and Summit County needs to change its by 11 signatures.

Brunner said she would order Mahoning County’s elections board to have a hearing to listen to specific issues raised by members of Traficant’s campaign committee and set a deadline for the hearing.

Brunner said she also would set a deadline for the Mahoning board to report its results to the Trumbull elections board, which has the most voters in the 17th Congressional District, where Traficant wants to run.

Brunner said Summit County’s determination of the number of votes cast in the 2006 election, which factored into how many petition signatures Traficant needed, needs to be changed.

Brunner wrote that Summit County submitted two different numbers of voters in the 17th District in the 2006 election, and it should have used the lower of the two.

The result is that Traficant needs 11 fewer petition signatures to get on the ballot than Trumbull elections officials believed on Aug. 10. Lowering the total by 11 means Traficant is now 20 signatures short of having enough instead of 31, Brunner added.

Traficant supporter Werner Lange said after Brunner’s ruling was released that he feels certain now that Traficant will be on the ballot as an independent candidate because there is “documented evidence” that 50 invalidated signatures should have been validated in Mahoning County.

Tom McCabe, Mahoning elections board director, said his board is prepared for the hearing Brunner has ordered, but so far there is nothing in Ohio law to indicate the “formal process” that hearing should follow.

He has asked Brunner’s office to provide additional guidelines for such a hearing.

McCabe added his staff met with Traficant supporters Lange and Linda Kovachik in early August and did validate some petition signatures as a result.

“We met our own policies. We addressed them [questions raised by Traficant supporters] one by one,” McCabe said, adding that there is nothing in Ohio law that says the board is under any obligation to review complaints about invalidated petition signatures.

Traficant supporters have argued that the signature of Don Hanni III, son of the deceased former Mahoning County Democratic Party chairman, should be ruled valid.

McCabe said Hanni’s signature didn’t come close to matching the one on his registration card, so it was ruled invalid. Hanni wrote the elections board a letter Tuesday saying he had signed the petition with his left hand but it was his signature.


1exposed(66 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Should the board arbitrarily decide a signature with the correct address does not match the signature on file when the person registered could have done so 40-50 years ago?

Shouldn't the signature be presumed valid unless shown otherwise by a complaint?

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2author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Don Hanni III can write his name with either hand... wow!

The Mahoning County Board of Fixxed Elections is once again doing its job as NOT working for the people and FOR the special interest groups.

Let Jim run.

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3Attis(1134 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Now is the time for all good folks to come to the aid of their country. Defenders of democracy, especially those who signed Jim's petition, are urged to come to a Rally for Justice for Jim at the Mahoning County Board of Elections on Friday at High Noon.

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4Overtaxed_Voter(14 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Exposed wrote:

Should the board arbitrarily decide a signature with the correct address does not match the signature on file when the person registered could have done so 40-50 years ago?

Do you think that the Mahoning County's polling places give this same level of scrutiny to matching the signature of the voter to the signature in the Poll Book on election day?

What about the level of scrutiny to matching signatures when an absentee ballot application is reviewed?



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