Ohio Supreme Court rules Law be placed on November ballot

On September 16, 2019, the Ohio Supreme Court found that the Trumbull County Board of Elections abused its discretion when it removed Randy Law from the ballot as an independent candidate for Mayor of Warren and ordered the board to recertify Law’s candidacy to the November ballot.

The board considered a protest against Law’s candidacy that alleged that, because Law was affiliated with the Republican Party, he could not run as an independent candidate. A majority of the board determined Law’s disaffiliation efforts from the Republican Party were not in good faith, because Law could not provide a compelling reason for disaffiliation and several pieces of evidence show Law’s statement of nonaffiliation was not made in good faith.

However, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a different standard of review should apply. The Court found that affirmative action of disaffiliation was not required. Rather, a candidate need only provide an accurate statement of disaffiliation in good faith. The Court ruled that the protestor maintains the burden of proof and must establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that a candidate’s disaffiliation was made in bad faith. Therefore, the Ohio Supreme Court concluded that the board’s standard of review demanded more of Law than necessary. Additionally, the Court found that several pieces of evidence, including a resignation letter, newspaper article, designation of treasurer form and extensive prior Republican Party history were not probative to show bad faith. As a result, Law’s candidacy will be recertified, and Law will be placed on the ballot in November. 

Election Law