Ohio’s Open Meeting Laws…Secret Ballots…and the public’s duty

For all Community Activists –  It is incumbent on all of us to understand the ‘rules of the game’…..Knowledge is power….

We were doing some research on the Ohio Open Meetings Act and discovered an Attorney General ruling on secret ballot voting in an open session.

It is all covered in the Attorney General’s ruling OAG 2011-038:  2011 Ohio Attorney General Ruling on Open Meetings and secret ballots OAG 2011-038

The finding of the Attorney General, Mike DeWine at the time,  was this:  “…we conclude that the Board may not vote in an open meeting by secret ballot”.

“The twin civic duties of overseeing governmental decision-making and holding public officials accountable for their decisions require that the governed
possess and enforce a right to know not only why decisions are made (open deliberations), but also the right to know the position and final vote of each individual
official. “The statute that exists to shed light on deliberations of public bodies cannot be interpreted in a manner which would result in the public being left in the
dark.” State ex reI. Cincinnati Post v. City of Cincinnati, 76 Ohio St. 3d at 544.

Voting by secret ballot thwarts openness and denies the public the ability to hold members of a public body accountable for their decisions, thereby impeding the
manifest intent and purpose of R.C. 121.22.”

There is further clarification on line 978 of Chapter 8 of the Ohio Open Meetings Act: Open Meetings Act line 978 secret ballot ruling

“…..finding that a vote by handwritten ballot, in open session, where the ballots identified each council member’s name with their respective vote and were made public record, was not a secret  vote..)


Here is another ruling that we all must keep in mind:

In the context of local governmental legislative proceedings the  right to know is deeply-rooted: “Our American democracy is partly founded on the premise that the public has a right, yea even a duty,
to oversee the decision-making procedures of those who have been chosen to govern. A public, not given the right of government oversight, is an uninformed public. With such action, the very integrity of the governing process is threatened. ” State ex reI. Plain Dealer Publishing Co. v. Barnes, 38 Ohio st. 3d 165, 169 (1988) (Douglas, J., concurring).
1988 Op. Att’y Gen. No. 88-087, at 2-419 (emphasis added by LFC).

Categories: Uncategorized


15 replies

  1. 903420 483944Great artical, I unfortunately had some difficulties printing this artcle out, The print formating looks slightly screwed over, something you may want to appear into. 439861

  2. I’m still learning from you, but I’m making my way to the top as well. I absolutely enjoy reading all that is written on your blog.Keep the posts coming. I loved it!

  3. I like this site because so much utile stuff on here : D.

  4. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Superb work!

  5. I simply couldn’t leave your web site prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the usual info a person provide for your visitors? Is going to be again steadily in order to check out new posts.

  6. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  7. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable info to paintings on. You’ve done an impressive task and our whole community will be thankful to you.

  8. 873112 193743Hi there for your individual broad critique, then once again particularly passionate the recent Zune, and in addition intend this specific, not to mention the beneficial feedbacks other sorts of every person has posted, will determine if is it doesnt answer youre looking for. 976220

  9. I think this website holds some rattling superb information for everyone : D.

  10. I love your writing style truly enjoying this site.

  11. I?¦ve been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this web site. Reading this information So i am satisfied to show that I have a very good uncanny feeling I came upon exactly what I needed. I so much surely will make sure to don?¦t omit this site and provides it a glance regularly.

  12. 272193 25375You ought to get involved in a contest personally of the finest blogs on-line. I will recommend this page! 740481

  13. 693603 96764I found your weblog internet site on google and check a couple of of your early posts. Proceed to preserve up the superb operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN Info Reader. In search of forward to reading extra from you later on! 337814

  14. Can you elaborate a bit on the second topic you mentioned?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: