Ballot Issues Not Published, Election Results Now in Doubt
Ohio law requires public notification of ballot issues, which Twinsburg didn’t follow
Because Twinsburg officials did not publish notification of three ballot issues up for vote on Nov. 8, residents may have to vote on the items again in the spring, City Council President Gary Sorace said Thursday morning.
Twinsburg resident Sally Gaydosh told council Tuesday night that she hadn’t seen any legal publication of Issues 62 and 63 in any of the local newspapers. Sorace said he met with Law Director David Maistros Wednesday and they determined the law was not followed.
“What we found is the advertising wasn’t done and basically, because of that, we’re going to resubmit the information next time around, and do it properly,” Sorace said.
According to Ohio Revised Code Section 731.211 residents must be notified of proposed charter amendments either through the mail or published in a newspaper of general circulation with the full text of the proposed amendment.
“It’s just an oversight,” Sorace said. “It’s not that big of a deal. None the less, the letter of the law was not followed. We weren’t trying to fool anybody or hide anything, it was just an oversight.”
Issue 62 would amend the charter, making police and fire chiefs unclassified positions and eliminating positions that no longer exist. Issue 63, also a charter amendment, would allow the appointing of all positions in the city's safety forces below chief through the Civil Service.
Sorace said he believes neither of the charter amendments on the Nov. 8 ballots were published. Because Issue 64 was a zoning amendment, it was published correctly as it went through planning commission earlier this year, according to Maistros.
“I believe the letter of the law is just so that voters would have a guaranteed source to understand what the issue is about,” he said. “In this case they weren’t given that. I don’t think it matters what the issue is or how important it is, it just matters that it wasn’t published.”
All the issues will still be on the Nov. 8 ballot because it is too late to make a change now. However, if Issues 62 or 63 are approved, City Council will challenge the election results and do it correctly for the next election, according to Sorace. If it fails, the issue is a “moot point.”
Other members of council said the city is doing its “due-dilligence” to make sure the issue is handled properly.
“It is going to be taken care of, there’s no doubt about it,” said Sam Scaffide, Ward 1 Councilman. “If in fact one passes, it will not take effect.”
“This is probably going to end up back on a ballot,” Ward 3 Councilman Ted Yates said. “Whether this passes or not, we’re probably going to take action to set it aside and have it placed on a later ballot.”
Chris Mazzolini contributed to this story