COLUMBUS- State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D- Kent), ranking minority member of the Select Committee on the 98th House District Election Contest, released the following statement about its first meeting:
Ensuring that all voters have a voice in who represents them is one of our most important duties as legislators. Yet today, the select committee adopted unnecessarily restrictive rules for hearing the House District 98 election contest. On a party line vote, the committee adopted rules saying that the committee would NOT examine all available evidence, would NOT review uncounted votes, and would NOT hear from witnesses -- including hearing from the voters whose ballots were wrongly rejected. This approach seems designed for one purpose only -- to thwart the will of the voters and reach a pre-ordained result before the hearing even begins.
We do our work in the House with the party that earned the most votes in the 2012 election at a 20 seat deficit to the party that won thousands fewer votes. Fewer seats in the chamber and fewer seats in every committee have created a severe lack of accountability to Ohio's voters.
I will hold out hope that the limited information the select committee has decided it will hear will lead them to change their minds and listen to the voters of Ohio and count all their votes.
On election night 2012, Representative Al Landis led Josh O'Farrell in the 98th House District race by a margin of 331 votes. After most of the provisional and absentee votes were counted, the margin shrunk to 14 votes. After an automatically triggered recount was completed, the margin shrunk to 8 votes. Over 60 votes remain uncounted in the race. The House by law decides the election of its own members under its own rules.