A Cincinnati native who is owner and managing editor of UrbanCincy.com has the right to vote in Hamilton County while living in South Korea for his job, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled. In a 6-1 decision, the court ruled that the Hamilton County Board of Elections did not abuse its discretion in 2013 when it decided that Randy Simes had the right to vote here. The court upheld both the Board of Elections’ decision and a Hamilton County Appellate Court ruling. Two people – Barbara Holwadel and Steven Johnson – pursued the case, which started when Simes voted in the 2013 Cincinnati mayoral primary between John Cranley and Roxanne Qualls, all the way to the state’s highest court.
Attorneys Curt Hartman and Christopher Finney, Qualls critics who have done legal work for the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes and are members of the anti-tax, anti-streetcar group, represented Holwadel and Johnson. Simes is a supporter of the streetcar who contributed to Qualls’ campaign.
The case was viewed as a key one by Hartman because the court had not decided one with similar facts. It also could hold interest for Cincinnati residents who work for the city’s large corporations and find themselves assigned to do work overseas for long periods of time.
Hartman, Finney and their clients argued that because Simes had lived in Chicago, voted there in 2012 and now lives in South Korea while on assignment for his employer, Parsons Brinckerhoff, he is ineligible to vote in Hamilton County and should instead be registered to vote in Illinois.