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GOP board recommends Stainbrook for elections seat

Jon-Stainbrook

Lucas County Republican Party Chairman Jon Stainbrook

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The Lucas County Republican Party’s executive committee Tuesday recommended party Chairman Jon Stainbrook for a vacant seat on the Lucas County Board of Elections, which is still under investigation from the Nov. 2, 2010, election.

Mr. Stainbrook, if appointed by Secretary of State Jon Husted, would replace Republican Ben Marsh, who stepped down as a member of the four-person board May 10.

The change in leadership would allow Mr. Stainbrook to participate in filling the posts of director and deputy director, who were fired in March over the handling of provisional ballots.

Matthew McClellan, a spokesman for Mr. Husted, said an appointment to fill the vacancy would be made in a “timely manner,” following a background check.

The party’s executive committee, of which 48 members showed up Tuesday night at party headquarters, unanimously voted for Mr. Stainbrook as the nominee. The executive committee is made up of elected ward chairs, GOP elected officials, past chairmen, members of the state central committee, and appointees of the chairman.

In a statement to the committee, Mr. Stainbrook alluded to his many complaints about the conduct of the board of elections over the last two years. The Republican half of the elections department has continued to be staffed largely by partisans of the old Republican guard that Mr. Stainbrook overthrew in June, 2008.

“There’s been no representation of the party around the board of elections,” Mr. Stainbrook said. “So many things have happened that voters of Lucas County have lost confidence in the board of elections.”

The previous director and deputy director were fired in March on orders of Mr. Husted because they recommended the board count 114 provisional ballots from the Nov. 2 election that had been cast in the wrong precinct in violation of legal advice from the secretary of state’s office.

Since then, the elections board has remained under investigation by the secretary of state and has also been receiving transitional support in weekly telephone conference calls because the top two staff positions have been vacant.

The elections board is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats who oversee the elections department staff and are required to certify candidates and vote counts by majority vote, with the secretary of state breaking the rare tie.

Mr. Marsh, who was appointed in March 2010, said he never intended to serve the full four-year term to which he was appointed.

Contract Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.

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