Ohio Supreme Court Reinstates Democratic 94th House District Candidate

Posted on:

< < Back to

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOUB) — The Ohio Supreme Court has determined a democratic candidate running in the 94th House District is eligible despite the Athens County Board of Elections disqualifying her over questions of residency.

Votes cast for Katie O’Neill, a Nelsonville resident who is running unopposed, will be valid in the Democratic Primary that was extended to April 28. Her name was not removed from the ballots as the board’s ruling did not happen until after they were printed.

She will face incumbent Republican Rep. Jay Edwards in the November General Election to represent the 94th House District, which represents Meigs County, as well as portions of Athens, Vinton, and Washington counties.

In a 6-1 ruling Tuesday, a majority of justices said the board “abused its discretion” by denying O’Neill’s petition.

The board’s governing body voted unanimously in February to disqualify O’Neill from the Primary Ballot after another Nelsonville resident alleged she had not been living there one year prior to Nov. 3, 2020. The body ruled that O’Neill’s declaration of candidacy was invalid because it was filed when she was a registered voter in Geauga County.

O’Neill filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court in March to contest the board’s ruling.

The Supreme Court determined that because she moved into temporary housing in Nelsonville on October 14, 2019 before moving into a permanent residence, she was eligible to be elected in the 94th House District.

“[The law] requires that O’Neill reside in the 94th House District for one year next preceding her election—not that she reside at a particular or single location within that district,” according to the majority.

(Read the full ruling here.)