Chine looks to be included on BOE ballot

By David Skolnick

Louis Chine Jr., an Austintown Board of Education member disqualified from seeking re-election because of problems with his nominating petitions, is suing to get back on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Chine’s attorney, Robert J. Rohrbaugh II, filed a writ of mandamus with the 7th District Court of Appeals asking judges to require the Mahoning County Board of Elections to reinstate Chine as a school board candidate.

Chine filed three nominating petitions with 49 signatures – one with 19 signatures, one with 14 and the other with 16 – with the board of elections before the Aug. 10 filing deadline.

Chine needed 25 valid signatures to get on the ballot and seek his second four-year term.

But the board determined on Aug. 20 that there were “fatal errors” with two of the three petitions, those with 14 and 16 signatures.

That left Chine with 19 valid signatures and off the ballot.

The “fatal errors” on two of Chine’s petitions were miscounts of the number of signatures. On the petition with 14 signatures, only 13 are listed as a total at the end of the form. On the petition with 16 signatures, 15 are listed as a total at the end of the form.

“Those are fatal errors, and you have to disqualify candidates for that,” said Thomas McCabe, elections board director.

The lawsuit contends the petition with 16 signatures has only 15 legitimate signatures, and that’s why Chine listed 15. The 16th signature is on the petition, but not in the designated area for people to sign their names, so Chine didn’t count it, according to the lawsuit.

Even though he’s not a candidate, the board of elections is including Chine’s name on early-voting ballots, McCabe said.

If the court rules in Chine’s favor, those votes will count, McCabe said. If the court rules against Chine, votes cast for him won’t count, McCabe said.

McCabe expects the court to address this matter shortly as the election is Nov. 8 and early voting starts Tuesday.

Without Chine, there are two candidates for two board positions. On the ballot are David W. Ritchie, running for his 12th consecutive four-year term, and Harold Porter, who’s unsuccessfully ran for township trustee in 2001 and for school board in 2005.

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