By JD LONG

jim@harrisonnewsherald.com

CADIZ – The Republican Central Committee of Harrison County held their monthly meeting last Thursday in Cadiz to appoint a replacement for the outgoing Marjorie Findlay on the Board of Elections.

The voting didn’t go as smooth as planned, though, as the committee had to break two ties with Darren Heavilin eventually getting the nomination. The other two up for the spot were former Harrison County Prosecutor Owen Beetham and Dave Kinney.

After the first vote there was a two-way tie but it wasn’t said who the two were. After making phone calls to two members that were not present, it resulted in a three-way tie with Harrison County Recorder Josh Willis being the one reached by phone.

Chairman of the Harrison County Republican Party John Jones, then announced the executive committee would be voting, where it led to them voting twice. Their first vote broke the three-way tie but still left the committee tied between two people. It was announced as a tie between “one and two,” but names were not mentioned. One was stated as Beetham and two was Heavilin, in which the numbered order was set before they began voting (three was Kinney). No one from the executive committee who were not present, were called for their vote.

After the executive committee voted a second time, Heavilin came out on top and the central committee followed with their approval. But there may be two problems with this process with one being that Jones announced he was voting via proxy for “three people of the central committee,” as he confirmed by phone on Wednesday. Three people later contacted this newspaper to point out this may have been in error. When contacted this week Jones replied, “people can tell you anything” and referred to the Ohio Revised Code when asked why he thought it was okay to vote proxy.

According to the ORC, though, this is not allowed as several people had pointed out this week, with two being Republicans and one was at the meeting.

“No party committeeperson or party delegate or alternate chosen at an election, or a delegate or alternate appointed to a convention provided by law, shall give or issue a proxy or authority to another person to act or vote in that person’s stead. No person shall knowingly or fraudulently act or vote or attempt to impersonate, act, or vote in place of that committeeperson, delegate, or alternate. Whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree,” according to the ORC (3599.35).

Regarding the issue of executive committees being allowed to vote, this one appears to be more vague but nothing found in the ORC states that it is improper to do so.

When first contacted the Ohio Secretary of State’s (SOS) Spokesperson, referred to the Ohio Republican Party but two messages left, one electronically and another with an individual, had not been answered as of now. A message left with Marsha Ferrell, secretary of the central committee was also not returned. Written questions presented to Harrison County Prosecutor Lauren Knight were not responded to.

After the office of the SOS was contacted a second time, a statement was given by Press Secretary Maggie Sheehan: “Again, this can only be answered by the ORP (Ohio Republican Party). It’s not determined by our office.”