AKRON, Ohio (AP) – The Ohio Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear arguments in a dispute over a decision by the state election officer to block the reappointment of a powerful Republican colleague to an electoral body.
The Ohio Supreme Court has put Summit County’s Republican Chairman Bryan Williams’ legal challenge against Secretary of State Frank LaRose on an expedited schedule.
Summit County’s GOP alleges in its complaint that LaRose attempted “political retaliation” by using “inaccurate and incomplete” facts when he was reappointed Williams for another four-year term on the district’s electoral board March 3, two Republicans and two Democrats rejected.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports that LaRose had given the county party until Friday to give it a different name for the seat, but the party leaders instead got together and voted for a lawsuit.
In his letter, LaRose cited several issues with the way the local electoral board ran the 2020 election as evidence that Williams was not qualified for the job. These included traffic jams during early voting, convicted criminals who were wrongly denied the right to vote, and more than 700 deceased voters who were still on the list.
However, in a damning legal statement, Williams alleged the reasons for LaRose’s actions were personal, the newspaper reported.
He said LaRose, who lived in Summit County before he was statewide elected and moved to Columbus, was upset that Williams’s party did not “provide him with the kind of political support he believed the Republican chairman did Party should be deployed from his home county. “
LaRose spokeswoman Maggie Sheehan said the office is not commenting on the pending litigation. When asked about the dispute before a lawsuit was filed, Sheehan cited the track record of former Summit County’s Republican chairman Alex Arshinkoff, who passed away in 2017.
“When Alex Arshinkoff ran the Summit County’s GOP, they wouldn’t have looked the other way if the dead had been left on the county’s voting lists,” she said. “This is clearly no longer Alex Arshinkoff’s Summit County GOP.”
Williams is a former county electoral officer, state school board member and state representative, and the current vice president of the Ohio Republican Party’s State Central Committee. Republican Governor Mike DeWine appointed him to the University of Akron’s Board of Trustees earlier this month for a term ending July 2029.