The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

July 20, 2013

Ashtabula County charter group ready to resubmit signatures

JEFFERSON — A group trying to put a county charter government initiative on the November ballot plans to submit additional petition names sometime next week, a spokesman said.

Robert Malinowski, of the Committee for a New Ashtabula, said Friday he understood volunteers had gathered around 300 additional names to replace those ruled invalid by the Ashtabula County Board of Elections earlier this month. The collection process will probably end early next week, he said.

“I believe we’re going to cut it off on Tuesday,” Malinowski said. “I think we have more than enough signatures.”

Earlier this month, the committee learned some 267 names among more than 3,100 collected during a three-week period in June were invalid. Some names were scrubbed because they were printed, not written, on petitions, while others were dropped because of address glitches, officials said. The group, however, had additional time to collect replacement signatures.

The Ashtabula County prosecutor’s office recently issued an opinion that the committee could gather names up to 70 days before the Nov. 5 general election, Carol Lovas, county election board director, said Friday. That would put the committee’s deadline around Aug. 27, she said.

Once submitted, the new signatures will be double-checked by the election board. If enough are valid, the Ashtabula County commissioners will be notified by the election board. A motion from the commissioners is needed to put the initiative on the November ballot.

Earlier this month, committee members were confident they could obtain a sufficient number of names before the filing deadline.

The charter government proposed by the committee would replace the elected, three-member board of commissioners with an elected, seven-member council. Un-der the plan, the new council would hire an administrator to handle the county’s day-to-day operations.

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