August 1, 2014

Elyria
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Absentee ballots are in the mail

ELYRIA — If you have been anxiously awaiting arrival of your absentee ballot, you may have to wait a few days longer.
The ballots, which normally are sent out Oct. 2, weren’t put in the mail until Monday and today.
The ballots were ready to be printed Oct. 2 but had to be reordered because of an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that allowed Elyria School Board member Holly Brinda to run for re-election in November, according to Lorain County Board of Elections Director Jose Candelario.

The board sent the new ballot with Brinda’s name on it to the printer, Dayton Legal Bank, on Oct. 2, and the printed ballots were returned late last week, Candelario said. The change did not cost the county any additional money because it was caught in time and the ballots did not need to be reprinted

Any ballots that had to be sent oversees were specially prepared and sent earlier, so people would get them in time to return them by mail, Candelario said.

Voters can ask for and fill out an absentee ballot until noon Nov. 3, the Saturday before the Nov. 6 election.
The presence of Brinda on the ballot has been an issue since the Lorain County Board of Elections and Ohio secretary of state Jennifer Brunner ruled she could not run again for the Elyria school board because she lost the Elyria Democratic mayoral primary in May to Mayor Bill Grace.

Brinda sought to overturn the decision with the Ohio Supreme Court, which unanimously agreed with Brinda and her attorney that the primary and general elections were separate elections and the state’s “sore loser” law did not apply.
The Ohio secretary of state has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider, arguing its interpretation of the “same election” would cause “great confusion and ambiguity.”

The high court has yet to rule on the motion for reconsideration. Brinda’s attorney, David Gareau, fired off a terse letter last week about the delay in getting absentee ballots mailed.

“We reserve the right to request a contempt of court citation from the Ohio Supreme Court,” Gareau wrote in a letter to Gerald Innes, assistant county prosecutor.

But Jeff Ortega, spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, said delays happen “with some frequency,” especially with candidates suing to get on the ballot.

Gareau’s letter stated that a woman who called the Lorain County Board of Elections was told the ballots were withheld because of the “Brinda issue.”

Candelario said he questioned all 22 members of his staff and all his employees denied saying absentee ballots were being withheld because of Brinda.

Brinda, who lost the mayoral primary to Grace in a vote of 3,551 to 4,084 or about 47 to 53 percent, is running for one of three nonpartisan positions on the five-member Board of Education.

The other incumbents running for election are eight-year veteran Don Boddy, four-year incumbent Kathryn Karpus, Gregory Elek, Marty Martinez, Jeffrey McCullough and Michael Routa.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.