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Declaration of Candidacy Must Be Copied on Candidate Petitions

In the case of State ex rel. Maras v. LaRose, 2022-Ohio-866, the Ohio Supreme Court denied a citizen’s attempt to compel the Ohio Secretary of State to send declarations of candidacy to county boards of elections and certify the citizen as a candidate on the Republican Party primary ballot for secretary of state because the citizen failed to comply with R.C. 3513.09, which requires that a “declaration of candidacy” be copied on each candidate petition — the form used to collect the signatures of voters who support a citizen’s candidacy — sent to each county board of elections for petition signatures to be valid.

Here, instead of copying the declaration of candidacy on each petition, the citizen submitted the declarations and the petitions separately so, when the Secretary of State sent the petitions to the county boards of elections, copies of the declaration of candidacy were not included with most petitions. As a result, the county boards of elections that did not receive a declaration of candidacy invalidated the petition and the citizen did not collect enough valid signatures to be certified as a candidate. The citizen argued that R.C. 3513.09 was complied with because the citizen submitted declarations of candidacy for each county. The Court disagreed.

In refusing to compel the Secretary of State to certify the citizen, the Court explained that strict compliance with R.C. 3513.09 was required and the statute unambiguously requires that a declaration of candidacy be copied on each petition before signatures can be collected. Since the citizen did not copy the declaration of candidacy on the petitions, the Court concluded that the Secretary of State properly excluded the citizen from the list of certified candidates.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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