Former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin will appear on November ballot in the race for Stow Municipal Court clerk, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Sept. 9.
Coughlin filed last month with the state's highest court, asking for the Summit County Board of Elections to be compelled to place his name on the Nov. 5 ballot, after the elections board decided against certifying his petitions for the non-partisan post. Coughlin had asked the Ohio Supreme Court for an expedited action due to the timing of having ballots printed.
"Because the board disregarded clearly established law by refusing to place Coughlin's name on the ballot, we grant [Coughlin's request]," stated the Sept. 9 decision by the justices.
In a released statement, Coughlin said, "I'm grateful to the Ohio Supreme Court for upholding my right to run."
Joseph Masich, director of the Summit County Board of Elections, was not immediately available for comment on the court's decision.
In July, the board of elections said Coughlin's history as a Republican disqualified him from running as a non-partisan. Coughlin had filed his petitions by the May 6 deadline.
Cuyahoga Falls resident Don Nelsch had challenged the filing, claiming Coughlin's history as a Republican meant his "'independent' or 'non-partisan' status (which he made through filing independent/non-partisan nominating petitions, rather than participating in the Republican party's primary election) was not made in good faith and is inconsistent with established standards for independent and non-partisan candidates."
Nelsch stated in his challenge to the board of elections that Coughlin is a former Republican elected official and has affiliated himself with the Republican Party "in numerous ways."
Coughlin countered with his belief that "Ohio law, however, authorizes non-partisan candidacies for municipal judges and clerks of court. Candidates who seek to be nominated as non-partisans are not required to be unaffiliated with a political party."
Munroe Falls Mayor Frank Larson is the Republican candidate for clerk of courts; current clerk of courts Diana Colavecchio is running on the Democratic ticket. She had been appointed to the post earlier this year.