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Ohio Supreme Court denies county party’s election complaint

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court denied a complaint on Tuesday from a county Democratic Party that argued its party chairman was denied a vacant seat on the county elections board by Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who cited unproven vote fraud allegations from 2016.

The court in a one-page motion signed by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said the Ashtabula County Democratic Party failed to make its case by “clear and convincing evidence.”

County Democrats nominated its chairman, Eli Kalil, to a vacant board seat after a Democratic member resigned in August. County election boards are comprised of two Republicans and two Democrats.

LaRose rejected the appointment, writing that Kalil “has been investigated for encouraging a constituent to forge the signature of another person on a voter registration form, and for altering the dates on voter registration forms.”

Ashtabula County authorities said the allegations were unproven after an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office. Kalil in an interview last week said the allegations were “politically motivated.”

On Tuesday, Kalil said he and other party officials are disappointed but respect the court’s decision.

“We thought we provided compelling evidence that exonerated me from the accusations,” he said.

The party’s executive committee will meet Wednesday to decide who name it will submit to LaRose in the hope he will make the appointment “with expediency,” Kalil said.

Ashtabula is about 58 miles (93 kilometers) northeast of downtown Cleveland.

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