Trumbull County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Polivka reaffirmed Tuesday the casting of secret ballots by the county’s Democratic Central Committee, which is called for under the local committee’s bylaws.
The committee used secret ballots Saturday in the process of choosing Mauro Cantalamessa as interim county commissioner to replace Paul Heltzel, who recently died in office, for the remainder of this year.
The state and national Democratic Party bylaws require public votes.
Cantalamessa, who was chosen from among 10 candidates and later affirmed in a public voice vote, will be the Democratic candidate on the Nov. 4 ballot to complete Heltzel’s term, which ends in January 2017.
Saying no secret ballots are permissible, Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern said he’ll seek Polivka’s ouster as Trumbull County party chairman if he won’t conduct a re-vote.
“Division within the party is never productive,” said Polivka, a Trumbull County commissioner.
“However, the inherent right of a secret ballot and basic principles of American democracy, such as due process, can neither be denied nor abolished,” Polivka said.
“To Mr. Redfern: ‘Take your best shot ... I’m not going anywhere,’” Polivka added, calling Redfern “tyrannical and inflexible.”
Redfern said he immediately would suspend several privileges of the Trumbull party.
Read more about the public spat in Wednesday's Vinidicator or on Vindy.com.