The Ashtabula County Democratic Party’s executive committee has decided to take the issue of Eli Kalil’s appointment to the Ashtabula County Board of Elections to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Kalil’s nomination to the Board of Elections was denied by Secretary of State Frank LaRose in a letter dated Thursday, Oct. 9. The letter cited an allegation of voter fraud made against Kalil in 2016.

The Ashtabula County Board of Elections is made up of two Democrats and two Republicans. Democrat Luanne Laakso retired from the board on Aug. 29. Board appointments are recommended to the Secretary of State by political parties, according to the Ohio Revised Code.

The Secretary of State signs off on the appointment, unless the nominee is believed to be incompetent, according to the ORC. If the Secretary of State doesn’t sign off on the nomination, the board member’s party can petition the Ohio Supreme Court to order the Secretary of State to appoint the nominee.

The burden is on the county party to prove that the nominee is qualified to serve on the Board of Elections, according to the ORC.

Kalil was accused of using white-out to alter the date on a voter registration form during the 2016 election cycle. 

Kalil has denied the allegation, and claimed that the Secretary of State’s decision not to appoint him to the Board of Elections was based on politics.

The allegations were investigated by three separate entities, and no basis was found for charges, Kalil said in a statement announcing the party’s decision.

During election season, election matters are given the highest priority by the Ohio Supreme Court, said Ed Miller, director of the Office of Public Information for the Ohio Supreme Court. The exact timing of the case would be up to the justices, he said.

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office did not respond to a request for comment.


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