William Pace filed suit Thursday against the Montgomery County Board of Elections and the city of Dayton, arguing that he is wrongly being prevented from running for Dayton City Commission as a write-in candidate.
Pace, through his attorney S. David Worhatch, asked the Ohio Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus requiring the board to receive Pace’s candidate filing fees and to count write-in votes for Pace in the Nov. 5 election.
“Anytime you deprive someone from the ballot and fail to recognize the wishes of people in the community … and find some interpretation and read into some charter a way to prevent someone from being on the ballot, I think that is an injustice,” Pace said Friday.
The Board of Elections and the city will have 21 days after court notification to file an answer to the complaint or a motion to dismiss, according to Supreme Court officials.
At its May 21 meeting, the Board of Elections cited a past opinion from the city of Dayton’s law department, confirmed by current law director John Danish, that the city charter does not allow for write-in candidates.
Worhatch made the same counter-argument to both the BOE in May and to the state Supreme Court this week. He argued that the charter has a write-in prohibition for primary elections, but not for general elections. He said since the charter makes no specific mention of write-ins in general elections, that issue should be governed by broader state election law, which would allow Pace to be a write-in candidate in November.
Board of Elections Chairman John Doll said the BOE likely would rely on the legal advice it got before its May decision.
Asked why he has taken his fight all the way to the state Supreme Court just to obtain write-in status, Pace said he’s been called to be the voice of the people, and God has revealed to him that his day in public office will come.
“I dialogue all the time with God, and God tells me to stand in the call,” Pace said. “This is a calling that’s been placed on my life. I am being molded and groomed and sculptured for public office.”
Pace ran unsuccessfully for City Commission in 2011 and County Commission in 2012.