The State ex rel. Fleming et al.
Fox et al.
Submitted August 28, 2019
J. Lodge, for relators.
Katherine J. Zartman, Williams County Prosecuting Attorney;
McTigue & Colombo, L.L.C., Donald J. McTigue, J. Corey
Colombo, Derek S. Clinger, and Ben F.C. Wallace, for
Yost, Attorney General, Benjamin M. Flowers, Solicitor
General, Michael J. Hendershot, Chief Deputy Solicitor
General, and Jason D. Manion, Deputy Solicitor General,
urging denial of the writ for amicus curiae Ohio Attorney
A. Endsley, Leah F. Curtis, and Amy M. Milam, urging denial
of the writ for amici curiae Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and
Williams County Farm Bureau.
1} In this expedited election case, relators, six
Williams County electors, seek a writ of mandamus to compel
respondents, the Williams County Board of Elections and its
members (collectively, "the board"),  to place a
petition for a proposed county charter on the November 5,
2019 ballot. The board determined that the proposal was
invalid after finding that it did not comply with Article X,
Section 3 of the Ohio Constitution, which governs
2} Relators' main argument is that the board
impermissibly examined the substance of the proposed charter,
when it should have determined only the sufficiency and
validity of the petition and signatures. But we do not reach
that issue. We deny the writ because relators had an adequate
remedy at law.
3} On June 26, 2019, relators filed a petition with
the board proposing the adoption of a county charter. There
is no dispute that the petition contained a sufficient number
of valid signatures for placement on the ballot. But on July
8, the board determined that the petition was invalid because
it did not comply with Article X, Section 3. That same day,
relators challenged the board's decision by requesting
that the board bring an action in the Williams County Court
of Common Pleas under R.C. 307.94. The board commenced the
action, and the court of common pleas affirmed the
board's decision on July 17.
4} On July 29, relators attempted to protest the
board's decision to the secretary of state under R.C.
307.95(B). But on July 30, the board notified relators that
it would not accept the protest or forward it to the
secretary of state because relators already had elected to
pursue an action in the common pleas court. On August 2,
relators asked the board to reconsider its refusal to accept
the protest. But on August 5, the board again refused to
accept the protest.
5} On August 9, relators filed this original action
seeking a writ of mandamus to compel the board to certify ...