RELEASE: Secretary Brunner Responds To Unfounded Allegations
March 9, 2010
For Immediate Release
SECRETARY BRUNNER RESPONDS TO UNFOUNDED ALLEGATIONS
COLUMBUS, Ohio – In response to allegations of Steve Christopher, a former candidate for the GOP nomination for Ohio Attorney General, that, “Almost 2,000 [candidate petition] signatures were lost or never sent to the proper boards of elections for validation,” (http://www.stevechristopher.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=4&Itemid=13) by staff of the Secretary of State’s office, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner invited Attorney Christopher to produce copies of the petitions he claims to have filed with her office.
“Mr. Christopher is an attorney. Most attorneys I know keep a copy for their file when they file a document with a court or a public office. It’s what we’re taught to do in law school to keep good records for our clients, even when we may be our own client,” said Secretary Brunner, an attorney and former Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge.
Secretary Brunner denied Attorney Christopher’s allegations that any parts of his petition for attorney general were lost or mishandled.
Secretary Brunner continued, “We haven’t heard from Mr. Christopher, and I’m surprised that he hasn’t just called or come to our office to try to resolve what he claims are discrepancies between what was filed and what was examined by the state’s bipartisan boards of elections and found to be deficient. We would be more than happy to work through this issue with him, if he would ask us,” Secretary Brunner said.
The practice of the Secretary of State’s office has been to maintain a strict chain of custody in handling all petitions filed in the office, including a sequential numbering of each part petition. A record is also maintained of the detailed steps on how petitions are processed and forwarded to the 88 county boards of elections for verification, along with work logs for recording and tallying the results of county petition examinations when they are received from boards to determine if a petition has a sufficient number of signatures as required by law.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, at the time of filing, all candidates are asked to “purport” a number of signatures they believe they have gathered.
This “purported” signature number is written on the receipt given to the candidate that also indicates the candidate has paid the necessary filing fee. “We rely on candidates to have a good idea of the number of signatures they are filing, and out of respect for their busy schedule, we don’t delay them with our own count at filing, especially when the filing is made near the deadline, and there are a number of candidates who may yet have to file,” said David Farrell, Director of Elections for the Secretary of State. Any “purported” number of signatures provided by a candidate is subject to verification by Ohio’s bipartisan county boards of elections, with a final tally of results from the counties completed by the Secretary of State’s office.
Assistant Secretary of State Mike Rankin certified the names for statewide candidates for the May 4 primary election ballot on Friday, March 5, 2010, and he notified candidates by letter whether or not they had been certified for the ballot. Five of the 33 candidates who had filed their statewide candidacy petitions before the February 18 deadline did not meet the necessary valid signature requirements to qualify for the ballot.
BACKGROUND ON STEVE CHRISTOPHER’S FILING:
· Steve Christopher - Republican candidate for Attorney General
· Filed petition on Feb. 18, 2010 at approximately 12:29 p.m., before the 4:00 p.m. filing deadline
· Petition contained 104 part-petitions, with 27 lines available for signatures on each part petition for a total possible number of signatures of 2,808.
Petition was circulated in 44 counties and contained a total of 788 signatures
· 1000 valid signatures are required out of a maximum of 3000 that may be filed
· 638 signatures (out of the 788 submitted) were deemed valid by the 44 county boards of elections
A worklog containing the number of part-petitions and signatures determined to be valid or invalid as verified by the county boards of elections is available upon request.