Follow-up From Board of Elections

We had previously posted about the questions we sent to the Board of Elections concerning the Lake County Auditor’s position, and how unexpected vacancies are handled.  Here are Mr. Ross McDonald’s, and Ms. Jan Clair’s responses to those questions.
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                               LAKE COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS
               105 Main Street – Nolan Building P.O. Box 490 Painesville, OH 44077

Dale H. Fellows, Chairman Phone: (440) 350-2700 Robert G. Schiebli 918-2700 Thomas A. Tagliamonte 428-4348 Ext. 2700 David A. Vitaz 1-800-899-5253 Ext. 2700 R. Ross McDonald, Director FAX: (440) 350-2670 Janet F. Clair, Deputy Director

January 22, 2019

To: Brian Massie

From: Director McDonald

Deputy Director Clair

Re: Email sent January 7, 2019

In response to your email requesting information about Auditor Zupancic, please review our response:

  1. Was the Lake County Board of Elections ever notified about Mr. Zupancic’s medical condition?

Answer: The Board of Elections was never notified of a medical condition regarding Mr. Zupancic. On January 7, 2019,the Board of Elections received a copy of a letter sent by Mr. Zupancic dated December 28, 2018 and filed with the Lake County Board of Commissioners on December 31, 2018.

  1. Does the Ohio Revised Code dealing with election laws require the individual, or the party he represents, to immediately notify the Elections Board about any significant health even that would present the individual from performing the duties of the position?

Answer: This is a legal question. We are not attorneys and cannot answer; however, we find nothing in our Ohio Election Officials manual that speaks to this matter. Our Election Officials Manual governs our conduct of Elections.

  1. Does the HIPPA laws take precedence over the taxpayers’ right to know about the ability of an elected official to perform their duties? Will the taxpayers ever be notified of Mr. Zupancic’s current inability to perform his role as Auditor?

Answer: This question has to do with HIPPA laws of which we have no knowledge nor can we answer.

  1. Does a “resignation” have any significance over a “leave of absence” with the Ohio Revised Code dealing with election laws?

Answer: We do not interpret legal definitions or the Ohio Revised Code. We are not attorneys.

  1. If Mr. Zupancic decides not to resume his position commencing on March 11, 2019, or finds is he unable to perform the duties of the position after a period of time, will there be a special election, or does the Republican Party or the Lake County Commissioners appoint his replacement for the four year term?

Answer: If Mr. Zupancic or any countywide elected official (other than Judges) resigns from office before the end of his/her term, the process, as we know it, is found in the Ohio Revised Code 302.02 and cited below:

305.02 Vacancy in county offices filled by election or appointment.

(A) If a vacancy in the office of county commissioner, prosecuting attorney, county auditor, county treasurer, clerk of the court of common pleas, sheriff, county recorder, county engineer, or coroner occurs more than forty days before the next general election for state and county officers, a successor shall be elected at such election for the unexpired term unless such term expires within one year immediately following the date of such general election.

In either event, the vacancy shall be filled as provided in this section and the appointee shall hold office until a successor is elected and qualified.

(B) If a vacancy occurs from any cause in any of the offices named in division (A) of this section, the county central committee of the political party that nominated the last occupant of the office as a candidate for that office for the current term shall appoint a person to hold the office and to perform the duties thereof until a successor is elected and has qualified, except that if such vacancy occurs because of the death, resignation, or inability to take the office of an officer-elect whose term has not yet begun, an appointment to take such office at the beginning of the term shall be made by the central committee of the political party that nominated the officer-elect as a candidate for that office for that term.

(C) Not less than five nor more than forty-five days after a vacancy occurs, the county central committee shall meet for the purpose of making an appointment under this section. Not less than four days before the date of such meeting the chairperson or secretary of such central committee shall send by first class mail to every member of such central committee a written notice which shall state the time and place of such meeting and the purpose thereof. A majority of the members of the central committee present at such meeting may make the appointment.

  1. D) If the last occupant of the office or the officer-elect was elected to serve the current term as an independent candidate, the board of county commissioners shall make such appointment at the time when the vacancy occurs, except where the vacancy is in the office of county commissioner, in which case the prosecuting attorney and the remaining commissioners or a majority of them shall make the appointment.

(E) Appointments made under this section shall be certified by the appointing county central committee or by the board of county commissioners to the county board of elections and to the secretary of state, and the persons so appointed and certified shall be entitled to all remuneration provided by law for the offices to which they are appointed.

(F) The board of county commissioners may appoint a person to hold any of the offices named in division (A) of this section as an acting officer and to perform the duties thereof between the occurrence of the vacancy and the time when the officer appointed by the central committee qualifies and takes the office.

(G) A person appointed prosecuting attorney or assistant prosecuting attorney shall give bond and take the oath of office prescribed by section 309.03 of the Revised Code for the prosecuting attorney.

We have answered your questions to the best of our ability. We hope this satisfies your questions of the Board of Elections.



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