Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Just in: Finding of probable cause of elections law violations in complaint against Norwood Dem. Party

On September 27th the Norwood Republican Party filed this complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission against 7 members of the Norwood Democratic Party for violating Ohio election law. We have just been informed that this morning a hearing was conducted in Columbus before a panel of the Ohio Elections Commission to determine if there is probable cause that local Democratic Party members have violated Ohio election law in any of their campaign literature and/or on their campaign website as listed in the complaint. During the hearing members of the Commission voted unanimously that there is probable cause that the mentioned members of the Norwood Democratic Party are in violation of Ohio election law and recommended a hearing before the full commission. To be clear, the finding of probable cause does not establish guilt; it means that there is enough evidence to proceed to a hearing before the full commission. A hearing will be scheduled before the Ohio Elections Commission in Columbus later this month to determine whether or not any of the Norwood Democratic Party members named in the complaint have violated Ohio election law.

As the basis for the complaint, the Norwood Republican Party cited Ohio Revised Code section 3517.21 (B) (1) and (9). Probable cause was found for 3517.21(B)(1) only, which states:

(B) No person, during the course of any campaign for nomination or election to public office or office of a political party, by means of campaign materials, including sample ballots, an advertisement on radio or television or in a newspaper or periodical, a public speech, press release, or otherwise, shall knowingly and with intent to affect the outcome of such campaign do any of the following:
(1) Use the title of an office not currently held by a candidate in a manner that implies that the candidate does currently hold that office or use the term “re-elect” when the candidate has never been elected at a primary, general, or special election to the office for which he or she is a candidate;

Present at this morning’s hearing were Joe Sanker and Joe C. Geers, Co-chairs of the Norwood Democratic Party; and Steve Thornbury and Jim Stith, Chair of the Norwood Republican Party.