Friday, July 17, 2015
Issue could be on ballot in March
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has completed its review of petition signatures submitted by Gary Norton, the Mayor of East Cleveland, on Wednesday, July 15, 2015.
The Board has verified that the petitioners have reached or exceeded the minimum required number of 559 valid signatures. Of the 1,613 signatures submitted, 827 of the signatures (51%) were certified as valid. Ohio law requires the signature was valid only if it was that of a registered voter who had actually cast a ballot in the November 2013 General Election.
According to Board of Elections director Pat McDonald, elected officials of the cities of Cleveland and East Cleveland are now responsible for moving the annexation process forward. “There are many steps still remaining in this process for both cities. The earliest that this issue could be on the ballot would be the March 2016 Presidential Primary Election.”
Provided below is a brief summary of the next steps of the annexation process, as contained in a statement released by the elections board:
● once the certified petition is presented to the City of East Cleveland, the City has 30 days to appoint three commissioners who will be responsible for negotiating the terms of the annexation with the City of Cleveland.
● The City of Cleveland will then have 30 days to appoint its own three commissioners to negotiate annexation terms.
● the six commissioners will have 120 days to negotiate annexation terms. Only four of the six commissioners must agree upon the terms in order to proceed.
● once terms are agreed upon, both cities will have 30 days to certify the issue to the Board of Elections.
● If the Board of Elections receives the issue by December 16, 2015, it will be placed on the ballot for the March 15, 2016 Primary Election. If received after December 16, 2015, the issue will be placed on the ballot for the November 8, 2016 General Election.
If all of the requirements for annexation are met, the Cleveland City Council has the option of putting the issue before their voters or approving the annexation by a vote of Council.
This issue has implications that go far beyond the respective borders of Cleveland and East Cleveland. We'll tell you what they are and why in our post on Monday.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections announced this afternoon that it has received approximately 1,600 petition signatures for the East Cleveland annexation issue and has begun the work on their verification. According to State law, at least 559 valid signatures are required to initiate the annexation process that would conclude with the City of East Cleveland becoming part of the City of Cleveland.
Pat McDonald, Director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections expects the signature verification process to be completed by the end of this week. In order for a signature to be valid the voter must have cast a ballot in the last municipal election and be a resident of the City. “If the number of required signatures is reached and certified, it will then be up to the elected officials of East Cleveland to move the process forward,” said McDonald in a statement released by the Board.
According to McDonald, the process East Cleveland officials must follow includes (this is just a summary there are some actions and possible scenarios that are not included):
· Declaring their intention to go into negotiations with the City of Cleveland to be annexed
· Appointing members of a commission from both cities who would negotiate the terms of the annexation
· Following negotiations, ballot language would be created
· Each voter would be mailed information concerning the conditions of the annexation
· The annexation question would be put to voters during a Primary or General Election
If all of the requirements for annexation are met the Cleveland City Council has the option of putting the issue before their voters or approving the annexation by a vote of Council.
If the effort falls short of collecting the 559 signatures state law does not allow the petitioners to gather additional signatures to reach their goal: (R.C. 3501.38 (I)(2)(b). However, they may choose start all over again with a brand new petition Drive.