Appeals court upholds board’s decision

Staff report


The 11th District Court of Appeals has affirmed the decision of the Trumbull County Board of Elections to keep Democrat Ken MacPherson off the May ballot for a position as at-large Warren councilman.

The appeals court on Wednesday denied MacPherson’s request, filed last Tuesday, to have the court overturn the elections board.

At issue is whether MacPherson established residency in Warren as a result of his 2009 marriage to Cindy A. Michael of Warren or whether he was still a Howland resident for election purposes.

Bill Kruppa, who is running for at-large Warren council, filed a complaint with the elections board, saying he didn’t think MacPherson was truly a Warren resident. The elections board agreed.

In its opinion, the court said it determined that MacPherson had to take some “affirmative act” to establish his Warren residency at least one year prior to the Nov. 8, 2011, general election.

“The evidence in the record does not demonstrate such an act within that window of time,” the ruling says.

“He changed his residence to Warren on his driver’s license and in voter registration, and paid taxes to Warren, all in January 2011, after the critical time had passed.”

The burden of proof fell to MacPherson, the appeals court said, because the Ohio Supreme Court has said that an appeals court should not substitute its judgment in place of an elections board’s decision in matters where there is conflicting evidence.

MacPherson, reached by telephone Wednesday, said his disqualification as a council candidate has been “nothing more than a diversion from the real issues,” and he is “going to continue to fight for the future of the city of Warren.”

He said he hasn’t decided whether to appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.

With MacPherson off the ballot, there are four at-large Democrats running for three seats.

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