CANDIDATE CLAIMED RESIDENCE IN VACANT PROPERTY ON VOTER REGISTRATION FORM
COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced his decision to allow Stark County Commissioner Thomas Bernabei to remain on the ballot for Canton Mayor — despite evidence clearly showing that Bernabei did not reside in the city when he filed his voter registration and candidate papers.
“Today’s decision by Secretary Husted is one of the most nakedly partisan actions I’ve ever seen — and for someone whom courts have found violated the constitution numerous times, that’s saying something,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper. “Given years of rhetoric about voter fraud, it’s astounding that Husted and the Ohio GOP now support would-be candidates and voters submitting paperwork to run and vote in communities where they don’t actually live.”
Prior to today’s ruling, Husted has faced questions about his own residency. In his opinion, Husted relies on the fact that Bernabei had “an intent to reside in the city of Canton.” Husted made the same claims of “intent” when he was defending charges that he did not actually live at his voting address.
Husted’s opinion conveniently ignores Bernabei’s timeline of events:
April 30 — Bernabei signs a one-month lease for a vacant rental property in the city of Canton, departs for Florida
May 3 day — Bernabei returns to Ohio, files change of address form for vacant rental property where he has never slept; Stark County Republican officials begin circulating Bernabei’s nominating petitions
May 3 evening — Bernabei spends first night on cot at vacant rental property; wife and pet remain in Hills and Dales
May 4 — Bernabei files nominating petitions
May 7 — Bernabei moves to another Canton property
“With today’s decision Husted has shown he doesn’t actually care about enforcing election law when doing so would undermine his own party’s interests,” said Pepper. “If Ohio Republicans actually wanted to crack down on an election fraud, perhaps they should look within their own house.”