171 of 176 Board Appointments Approved, Rejected Appointments Fail to Meet Standard
COLUMBUS – Today, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose rejected the appointments of five county board of elections members from Summit, Lorain, Vinton (2), and Hocking. The partisan breakdown is three Democrats (Lorain, Vinton, Hocking) and two Republicans (Summit, Vinton).
County boards of elections consist of four board members, with two each from the respective political parties. Terms last four years each. Each county political party recommends appointments to the Ohio Secretary of State for approval.
In each of the rejected appointments, significant deficiencies were determined where board members did not provide the standard of competence necessary to continue serving in their respective role. Letters sent to each board member are linked below.
“One of the principal reasons our 2020 election was so successful is because of the hard work, dedication, and professionalism of Ohio’s bipartisan election officials. Far and away, they performed well under extremely challenging conditions,” said LaRose. “However, challenging circumstances like 2020 have a way of both shining a light on outstanding boards but also laying bare those which need improvement when board members fail to meet the standard required of them. Most critical, such failures risk putting voter confidence in jeopardy, and that’s simply unacceptable.”
For each rejected appointment, the respective county party organization is asked to submit a new name for approval.
In addition to Summit County’s rejected board appointment, the Summit County Board of Elections has been placed on Administrative Oversight.
Administrative Oversight will require the board to report biweekly to the Secretary’s office to ensure the board is effectively administering elections. It’s important to note that two Summit County Board of Elections members’ terms expired this year. One did not seek reappointment, and the Secretary rejected the recommendation to reappoint the other. The two remaining Board members will be evaluated under the same set of facts as stated in both the Administrative Oversight letter and the letter to the outgoing Summit County board member, as it has become clear that the issues plaguing the Summit County Board of Elections have occurred for many years. Our Office will continue to evaluate the ongoing service of the remaining two Board members, as well as the Director and the Deputy Director. The Secretary will not hesitate to initiate removal of the two Board members whose terms end in 2023, prior to that date, if we determine that it is in the best interest of the voters of Summit County to do so as we uphold our sacred oath to administer safe, secure, fair, and accurate elections.