News - Capital University Law School

Professor Brown Calls LaRose Decision ‘Partisan’ Politics

10/25/2022  - 

Constitutional Law Professor Mark R. Brown says Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s decision to ban Democrat Tanya Conrath from the November ballot goes against a principle that “Election laws should be construed liberally to allow the people to vote.”

Professor Brown’s comments were part of a story in the Athens County Independent,“LaRose sides with local GOP to block Conrath nomination.” The article discusses LaRose’s ruling that Conrath, a challenger to State Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), should not be listed on the ballot because she replaced a candidate who had not been officially certified. The candidate, Rhyan Goodman, ran unopposed in the Aug. 2 primary but dropped out of the race before results were certified by the Athens County Board of Elections

When the Board of Elections met on Aug. 17, votes to certify Conrath’s candidacy were split among its two Republican and two Democrat members. LaRose was called upon to break the tie. He said because Goodman had not yet been certified, he couldn’t be replaced on the ballot

Professor Brown noted that the state’s substitution statute does not require a candidate to be certified. Still, he said he was not surprised by the Republican Secretary of State’s decision, “given LaRose’s plain partisan positions on every electoral matter to come before him.

Conrath appealed the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court. As predicted by Professor Brown, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in mid-October that Ohio law supported Conrath's candidacy. It observed that LaRose's position was premised on an "impermissible legal absurdity." Conrath was accordingly ordered onto the Nov. 8, 2022, ballot.