Josh O’Farrell, the Democratic challenger for the Ohio House of Representatives 98th District, filed a lawsuit to contest the election with the state Supreme Court on Monday. The complaint involves several provisional and absentee ballots that were rejected by the Tuscarawas County Board of Elections, and were not included when the board certified the election Dec. 14. O’Farrell lost to Republican incumbent Al Landis by eight votes, with Landis leading 23,393 votes to 23,385, in both Tuscarawas and Holmes counties. “It’s a basic tenet of our democracy that elections are decided by voters, not individuals, both at the state and local level, who manipulate the election process, even if that means disenfranchising voters in order for their preferred candidate to remain in office,” O’Farrell said.
“In this suit, we are asking that all voters have their votes counted, both Democrat and Republican. We’re asking at the end of the day we want all their votes counted.”
National media commentators have focused on the election, because a win for Landis means the Republicans have a supermajority.
O’Farrell said there are several things at stake with a Republican supermajority, including bargaining rights and landowners’ rights in the oil and gas industry.
While the case is presented to the Ohio Supreme Court it ultimately is decided by the Ohio House of Representatives.