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Politics

BOARD OF ELECTIONS

Names of 2 judges floated to fill vacancies

County Dems, Republicans to meet

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The leaderless Lucas County Board of Elections will move a step closer to having a full board when the executive committees of the Lucas County Democratic and Republican parties meet this week to nominate new members.

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A plan to appoint judges to at least two of the three seats appears to be a strong possibility but not a certainty.

Jon Stainbrook, chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, said he discussed the role of a board of elections member with Peter Handwork, a Republican judge who has expressed a willingness to take the appointment.

“I have no idea what names the committee would be interested in recommending for these two vacancies,” Mr. Stainbrook said of the committee that is largely appointed by him and he chairs.

Lucas County Democratic chairman Steven Steel said he has held several discussions about the appointment with Democratic Judge Charles Wittenberg but declined to make any predictions until he meets with his leadership team.

“We’re looking for the person that’s best going to support the interests of the voters of Lucas County regardless of what the Republican Party does,” Mr. Steel said.

The two judges were appointed by Secretary of State Jon Husted to provide oversight to the problem-plagued elections office during the May 6 primary election.

Republicans meet 7 p.m. Wednesday at Main Street Bar & Grill in East Toledo, and Democrats meet 6 p.m. Thursday at party headquarters on Madison Avenue near downtown.

Mr. Husted on June 5 removed from the board of elections Mr. Stainbrook, fellow Republican Anthony DeGidio, and Democrat Ron Rothenbuhler, while leaving in place Democratic board member John Irish.

The removals were ordered because of what Mr. Husted described as a culture of dysfunction and neglect of duty on the county elections board.

Under state law, the secretary of state must appoint the parties’ nominees, unless he deems them incompetent.

Mr. Husted has said he will reject any nominees who are connected to the elections board’‍s past problems.

Contact Tom Troy: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.

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