Ohio Court Allows Referendum On Speed Cameras

Residents of East Liverpool, Ohio, will have a chance to vote for or against speed cameras on November 5, but the vote still might not count. Columbiana County Common Pleas Judge Scott A. Washam last week decided not to pull the proposed initiative from the ballot through the temporary restraining order that city officials had requested.

“An injunction is an extraordinary remedy,” Judge Washam wrote in his ruling.

In 2017, city auditor Marilyn Bosco blocked the referendum by refusing to certify that the initiative received the correct number of signatures to qualify for the ballot. A county Judge C. Ashley Pike ruled that she had no right to do that and ordered her to certify the measure. In August, Bosco did certify the citizen’s initiative with a letter reserving the right to revoke the certification if the Ohio Court of Appeals rejected Judge Pike’s reasoning. Even though the appellate court ruled against the citizens of East Liverpool (view ruling), Judge Washam pointed out it was not Bosco’s job to interpret court rulings.

“If Ms. Bosco did not certify the initiative by virtue of her August 7, 2019 letter, it is hard to understand how she can claim to reserve any right to revoke it,” Judge Washam ruled. “Because Revised Code Section 731.28 confers no such authority on Ms. Bosco, her letter to the Board of Elections dated September 23, 2019 must be viewed as a legal nullity.”

The court pointed out that East Liverpool is to blame for dragging its feet in filing an appeal, as prompt filing is essential in election matters.