Lawyers ask court to dismiss Kovoor’s lawsuit | News, Sports, Jobs


An attorney for Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has asked the state’s highest court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Sarah Thomas Kovoor and the Trumbull County Republican Party to compel him to certify her as a candidate for the bench in the November 8 ballot – saying the legal request is premature.

“LaRose denies that this court has jurisdiction over this action and that (Kovoor and the Trumbull GOP) are entitled to a writ of mandamus,” Julie Pfeiffer, an assistant attorney general representing LaRose, wrote in a filing Monday. “To the contrary, this action is not justiciable because the claims against Secretary LaRose are not ripe for review.”

William Danso, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor who represents the Elections Commission, also filed a response Monday to the lawsuit stating, “This matter is not yet ripe for consideration and therefore this court has no jurisdiction in the matter.”

Kovoor and the Republican Party’s Central Committee Trumbull filed a lawsuit last Wednesday against the Elections Commission to compel it to immediately submit position papers to LaRose on Kovoor’s eligibility and for LaRose “make its decision immediately, before receiving the positions of the elections office.”

The Election Commission filed these position statements on Friday.

Kovoor and the central committee also asked the court to compel the election commission and LaRose to put her name on the ballot if the secretary of state decides not to certify her.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor on Thursday released a timetable for filing briefs and other responses in the case with September 8 as the deadline for submitting the final document.

On August 19, the Elections Committee voted 2-2 on Kovoor’s eligibility to be on the ballot as a Republican for a vacant judicial seat on the Court of Common Pleas. The two Democratic board members voted against his eligibility, with the county attorney’s office issuing a legal opinion that a no was correct, while the two Republicans voted to certify his candidacy.

The problem is that Howland’s Kovoor lost the May 2 Republican primary for a seat on the 11th District Court of Appeals and was then nominated on August 14 by the Republican Party’s central committee Trumbull as its nominee for the presidential seat. Common Pleas which was released on July 31 by Democrat Peter J. Kontos.

Ohio Revised Code Section 3513.04 states: “No person who solicits the nomination of any party for any office or office in a primary election by declaration of candidacy…shall be permitted to become a candidate by naming a petition…by declaration of intent to be a candidate in writing or by filling a vacancy under section 3531.31 of the Revised Code at the next general election for any office.”

The only exceptions concern school boards, the governing board of an educational service center or the syndic of the canton.

Mark Alberini, chairman of the board of elections and leader of the Democratic Trumbull party, and Diana Marchese, the other Democratic board member, said the law must be obeyed.

Their position statement reads: “The principle of access to the ballot cannot and should not supplant the law. In Ms. Kovoor’s situation, there is clear legislative language, compelling case law and well-reasoned legal advice – this cannot and should not be ignored.

Ron Knight and Arno Hill, the members of the Republican Election Committee who voted to certify Kovoor, asked LaRose to reconsider the law because Kovoor was nominated by the Republican Central Committee and when she ran for the seat of the appeals court in May, Kontos’ seat was not vacant.

In his filing Friday with LaRose, the two Republicans wrote: “We understand this law was created as a ‘bad loser’ to prevent candidates from jumping from seat to seat, however, we believe that with a NEW seat opening up after the primary and the Trumbull GOP naming Sarah Thomas Kovoor, a second look at this is guaranteed. We also feel that our position is to keep qualified candidates on the ballot, to try to remove them.

In Monday’s response on behalf of LaRose, a Republican, Pfeiffer wrote that Kovoor and the Trumbull GOP want the Elections Committee to tie the vote in the secretary of state’s office. Tie-breaking arguments were sent Friday by the board to LaRose.

Pfeiffer wrote because Kovoor and the local Republican Party “not to allege that the Trumbull County Board of Elections submitted the tie vote to the Secretary of State and that the Secretary filed to timely exercise his discretion to break the tie vote, the complaint is not not ripe for arbitration and must be rejected.

In a response Monday on behalf of the Election Members Council and Stephanie Penrose, Danso also argued by submitting position letters to LaRose’s office, “There is technically no position for him or his manager to defend. However, the Board of Elections and Director Penrose understand that they may be subject to future administrative orders issued by (LaRose) and the orders of this court.

He added : “This matter is not yet ripe for consideration and therefore this court has no jurisdiction in the matter.”

The November 8 election must fulfill Kontos’ term, which ends on December 31, 2026.

Cynthia Westcott Rice of Brookfield, a sitting judge on the 11th District Court of Appeals, is the Democratic Party candidate.

If Kovoor is deemed ineligible, Rice would run unopposed for the seat in the Nov. 8 election.

Friday was the editorial deadline, and no one filed.

Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, can choose a temporary judge for the seat to fill the post until the general election results are certified. Trumbull Republicans submitted three names, including Kovoor, for consideration for this nomination.

Kovoor filed a lawsuit last Wednesday against the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas Board of Elections, claiming he was conducting public business outside of a public meeting when Penrose called council members seeking advice. legal on the eligibility of Kovoor.

Penrose has since acknowledged Danso asked the board to clear the notice and she has spoken to all but Marchese, who gave her the go-ahead to get it.

“If my attorney asks me, I guess that would be fine,” she says. “I followed the example of my prosecutor.

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