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Published: Saturday, 2/23/2013

Judge dismisses TARTA lawsuit against board of elections


The wording on a referendum that would allow the unincorporated areas of Sylvania Township to opt out of the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority will appear on the November ballot as proposed, according to a Lucas County Common Pleas Court decision.

Judge Dean Mandros issued a ruling Friday that dismissed TARTA’s lawsuit against the Lucas County Board of Elections. The order means that the opt-out question will be submitted only to voters in the unincorporated portion of Sylvania Township and not to voters in the city of Sylvania.

The judge stated in the nine-page order that the board of elections properly followed state law, which states that the question of withdrawal from TARTA must “be submitted to electors of the territory to be withdrawn.”

“The area to be withdrawn is only the unincorporated portion of Sylvania Township,” the judge noted. “Accordingly, the court finds that [state law] as it existed at the time the resolution was adopted, clearly limits voting on the TARTA withdrawal issue to electors residing in the area to be withdrawn – here, the unincorporated territory of Sylvania Township.”

Judge Mandros further concluded that TARTA failed to establish that it acted with “extreme diligence” when challenging the wording. He noted that the Sylvania Township Board of Trustees approved the ballot language in June and the lawsuit was not filed until Sept. 24 – two days after the elections board began mailing overseas and absentee ballots.

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