Wood County Board of Elections

Issues and candidates face local voters in May election

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County voters will face some decisions come May 8. Today was the filing deadline at the Wood County Board of Elections for any issues or candidates to appear on the primary election ballot. Voters in Bowling Green will help decide the fate of a school bond issue, county park district levy, and a liquor option for a restaurant. One countywide issue will appear on the ballot: Wood County Park District is seeking a 1-mill renewal levy, lasting 10 years. The levy revenue will be used for operating, improving, conserving and protecting the district’s existing parks. The millage is the same as when last passed 10 years ago for the county parks. For the last decade, the levy has generated about $2.8 million a year. That amount is expected to grow to $3 million a year because of new construction in the county. Two school districts in the county will be going before voters: Bowling Green City School District is seeking approval for a bond issue, of 5.7 mills for 37 years, to raise $71,990,000 for construction of school facilities. The funding would pay for the construction of one consolidated elementary school, plus renovations and an addition to the existing high school building. Eastwood Local School District has filed for a replacement tax levy, of 2 mills for five years, for general permanent improvements. One city issue was filed in Wood County: Perrysburg is asking for renewal of a tax levy for 0.8 mills, for five years, for public transportation services. Two other issues were filed with the board of elections: Sunset Bistro, a restaurant at 1220 W. Wooster St., Suite A,…


Voter purge policy on hold while high court deliberates

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The purging of any names on Wood County voting rolls has been suspended as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the legitimacy of the Ohio policy. The Supreme Court last week heard arguments on the appeal of a lower court ruling that found the state policy violated a federal law aimed to make it easier for U.S. citizens to register to vote. The 1993 National Voter Registration Act bars states from striking registered voters “by reason of the person’s failure to vote.” Ohio is one of seven states, along with Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, that erase infrequent voters from registration lists. Those opposing the purging called Ohio’s policy the most aggressive. Registered voters in Ohio who do not vote for four years are sent registration confirmation notices. If they do not respond and do not vote over the subsequent four years, their names are purged from the voting rolls. The Supreme Court’s ruling, expected by the end of June, could affect the ability to vote for thousands of people ahead of November’s congressional elections. The arguments in front of the Supreme Court focused on whether or not a state could send a registration confirmation notice based merely on a person’s failure to vote, which the plaintiffs argued is barred by federal law. Meanwhile, the Wood County Board of Elections is in limbo about updating voter rolls. “We didn’t do one last year because of the litigation,” said Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections. “We’re going to hold status quo until we’re given instructions. Whatever the new construction is, we’ll comply.” In 2015, more than 3,400…


Board of Elections rules pipeline charter amendment can be on ballot – appeal already filed with Ohio Supreme Court

The anti-pipeline petition for a Bowling Green charter amendment has won a battle to get on the ballot this November. But the opposition has already filed an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court. The Wood County Board of Elections reported today that it has ruled in favor of the petitioners asking for Bowling Green voters to be able to cast ballots on a charter amendment against pipelines. A hearing was held last week after a city resident, David W. Espen, who is a member of the plumber-pipefitters union, protested the petition. Espen, who was represented by Donald McTigue, of Columbus, said the petitions submitted did not have enough valid signatures, specifically noting the signatures of five BGSU students who used their residence hall addresses rather than their street addresses. The Board of Elections determined the five signatures meet the street address requirement and are valid. Espen’s protest also questioned the constitutionality of the charter amendment, saying it required the city to give citizens authority that the city does not possess. The Board of Elections also concluded the protester had not presented sufficient evidence that the issue should not appear on the ballot. “This is good news,” said Lisa Kochheiser, one of the citizens pushing for the charter amendment. “Now we just have to wait and see if the protester will take it to the Ohio Supreme Court.” That appeal will have to be submitted quickly, since the charter amendment is scheduled to appear on the November ballot in Bowling Green. “There’s a time crunch here,” Kochheiser said. McTigue said late this afternoon that he had already filed an appeal today with Ohio Supreme Court. McTigue said he has respect for…


Anti-pipeline charter amendment now in limbo

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The legal battle to get an anti-pipeline charter amendment on Bowling Green’s ballot has come down to two sides – those who want to stop the pipeline and those who would want the jobs building it. On Thursday morning, the petition submitted by citizen activists worried about the effect of Nexus pipeline on the city’s water plant was challenged by a Bowling Green man who is a member of the local plumber-pipefitter union. The Wood County Board of Elections took information from both sides and will come back with a decision. Last week, the Wood County Board of Elections voted to allow the November ballot to include the controversial charter amendment. However, then a Bowling Green resident, David W. Espen, filed a protest with the board of elections about the charter amendment. Espen was not present at Thursday’s hearing, but was represented by the Columbus law firm McTigue & Colombo. Espen’s objections cite two possible problems with the charter amendment petition – one questioning the number of valid signatures, and the other questioning the authority of the city to grant the power requested in the petition. The complaint zeroed in on five specific signatures. Normally, that might not matter if a handful of signatures were found to be invalid. However, the pipeline petition had only one more signature than required to appear on the ballot. A total of 1,230 signatures were collected on the petition. By law, to make it on the ballot, the petition needed 714 valid signatures. It had 715. The five signatures in question are from Bowling Green State University students who live on campus and therefore have dual…


Pipeline charter amendment faces another challenge

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The effort to get a pipeline charter amendment on the ballot for Bowling Green voters is facing another challenge. Last week, the Wood County Board of Elections voted to allow the November ballot to include the charter amendment, which was petitioned for by people opposed to pipelines that could negatively affect the city. However, this week the charter amendment faces a new challenge. A Bowling Green resident, David W. Espen, has filed a protest with the board of elections about the charter amendment. Espen’s objections cite two possible problems with the charter amendment petition, according to Wood County Board of Elections Director Terry Burton. First, Espen claims the petition did not have a sufficient number of valid signatures. His complaint questions five specific signatures. Normally, that might not matter if a handful of signatures were found to be invalid. However, the pipeline petition had only one more signature than required to appear on the ballot. A total of 1,230 signatures were collected on the petition. By law, to make it on the ballot, the petition needed 714 valid signatures. It had 715. Second, Espen is challenging whether or not the charter amendment exceeds the city’s role allowed in the Ohio Constitution. The protest claims the issue goes beyond the limits permitted to municipalities, Burton said. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning at 8:30, in the fifth floor hearing room of the Wood County Office Building. Espen is being represented by the Columbus law firm McTigue & Colombo. The group supporting the petition will be represented by Toledo area attorney Terry Lodge. “The Charter Amendment belongs on the ballot,” citizen activist Lisa…


Pipeline petition cleared to appear on BG ballot

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Board of Elections voted this morning to let Bowling Green voters decide the fate of a pipeline charter amendment. It may then be up to the courts to decide of the amendment is constitutional. The board voted with three in favor – John Cuckler, Dick Newlove and Mike Zickar. Mike Marsh recused himself since he is the city attorney for Bowling Green. “This board has traditionally, philosophically had a tendency to put things on the ballot and not keep them off,” Newlove said prior to the vote. After the vote, Newlove said a new state law (House Bill 463) does add some complexities to the process since it asks local entities to decide if ballot issues are constitutional. In this case, it charges the board to determine if the charter amendment is asking the city to give citizens rights that the city has no authority to give. “The new law does kind of put us in a difficult position,” Newlove said. “Our attitude was to let the voters decide.” Zickar agreed. “They did all of the work collecting signatures and meeting deadlines,” he said. “We wanted to let the people to decide.” Ultimately, however, it may be up the courts to decide if the charter amendment is constitutional. Prior to the decision this morning, citizen activist Lisa Kochheiser asked the board to let Bowling Green citizens vote on the issue. “I speak for the people of Bowling Green who want to protect their community from corporations, like Nexus pipeline,” Kochheiser said. Kochheiser told the board of elections that they had no legal standing to keep it off the ballot….


Pipeline petition may – or may not – be booted from ballot

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There may be more than enough valid petition signatures to get a pipeline issue on Bowling Green’s ballot this November. But it’s uncertain if voters will have a chance to weigh in, since the petition may have been filed late. The petition asks that a charter amendment be adopted in the city to prioritize people over pipelines. All within a matter of hours today, officials believed the petition was possibly out, then possibly in – with no clear resolution. The only certainty is that Ohio’s rules on petitioning to put an issue on the ballot are far too complicated. Petition organizers Lisa Kochheiser and Brad Holmes, president of the Environmental Action Group at Bowling Green State University, reported that more than 1,200 signatures were collected, with at least 714 valid signatures required to get the charter amendment on the ballot. Wednesday at 4 p.m. was the filing deadline for issues and candidates appearing on the general election in November. But the pipeline issue did not appear on the board of elections list. Bowling Green Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said this morning that the petition was not filed on Wednesday, because the Ohio Revised Code requires that a charter amendment petition be held at the city for 10 days prior to it being submitted to the board of elections. The petition was turned in to the city on July 31 at 2 p.m. Since the city is required to hold onto it for public viewing for 10 days, that meant the petition could not be turned over to the Wood County Board of Elections until today at 2 p.m. – one day…