Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Council candidate dealt court setback


Lisa Canales-Flores


The Ohio Supreme Count yesterday ruled against two emergency motions filed by a Toledo council District 6 hopeful, but has yet to decide if she can be on the ballot in November.

The court unanimously ruled against the motion filed by Toledo attorney Keith Wilkowski on behalf of would-be candidate Lisa Canales-Flores to stop the Lucas County Board of Elections from printing and mailing absentee ballots. The court also ruled against the motion to expedite the matter. It did not issue an opinion, which would reveal the court's reasons for the decision.

One likely reason behind the denial for the expedited ruling lies in the fact that election cases filed within 90 days of the election date are put on a fast track anyway, said Robert Vaughn, case management counsel for the clerk of the Ohio Supreme Court.

However, the court did not rule on the main thrust of Mr. Wilkowski's petition: to put Ms. Canales-Flores back on the ballot for the vacant District 6 seat, vacated Sept. 4 by Wade Kapszukiewicz, who left to become county treasurer.

That ruling probably won't occur for another couple of weeks, Mr. Vaughn said. The Lucas County board must file an answer to Mr. Wilkowski's initial filing. That answer will be filed by the Lucas County prosecutor's office, which has until Monday to do so, said Jill Kelly, elections board director.

After that, Mr. Vaughn said, both parties would file briefs, which the court would consider. It will not hear oral arguments, he added.

The court's rulings yesterday mean the name of Ms. Canales-Flores will not appear on absentee ballots. Mr. Wilkowski said he did not believe the court's ruling indicates it is likely to rule against her in its final decision.

"I would not read anything into that," he said. "We have an expedited schedule, and we're going to make sure we get our case in front of the court well in advance of the election, in time to have her name appear on the regular ballot."

Should the high court rule in favor of Ms. Canales-Flores, the county's new touch-screen voting system would make it fairly easy for the elections board to add her name to the roster for Election Day, Ms. Kelly said. Others running for the seat are David Ball, Donald Bensman, Joe Birmingham, and Kate Ryan Schwartz.

The case arose last month, after the elections board decertified Ms. Canales-Flores as a candidate because the notary public who notarized her petitions mistakenly signed them on the line for the candidate's signature. Ms. Canales-Flores recirculated and refiled her petitions last week. The board rejected the new petitions, and Mr. Wilkowski asked the court to place her name on the ballot.

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