IN THE SUPRF.

MF, COURT OF OHIO

STATE ex rel. STEVE CHRIS"I'OPHF,R 1657 C.R.I75

Case No.

Forcst, Ohio 45843,
Relator,

Original Action in Mandainus
vs. HON. JF.NNIFER BRUNNER OHIO SECRE"I'ARY OF STATE I 80 Last Bi-oad Street

Expedited Election Case Under S.Ct. Prac. R. 10.9

Columbus, Ohio 43215,
Respondent.

COMPLAINT FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

David R. Langdon (0067046) Counsel of Record
Bradley M. Peppo (0083847) LANGDON LAhJ LLC 11175 Reading Rd., Ste. 104 Cincinnati, Ohio 45241 (513) 577-7380 (513) 577-7383 I'ax dlangdon(aylangdonlaw.com tkidd ^langdonlaw.coin bpeppo(a^,langdonlaw.com Couns•el for Rela[or Steve Christopher

Richard Cordray (0038034) 01110 ATTORNEY GENERAL 30 E. Broad Street, 17r" Floor C:olumbus, Ohio 43215 (614) 466-4320 (614) 466-5087 fax
Counsel for Respondent Ohio Secretary qfState Jennifer Brunner

Now cotnes Relator Steve C.hristopher, on relation to the State of Ohio, and for his Complaint for Writ of Mandamus against Respondent Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, states as follows:

INTROI)UCTIG3N 1. This is an original aetion for a writ of mandatnus to compel the Secretary of State to certify Relator Steve Christopher as a candidate for the Republican Party's notnination for election to the office of Ohio Attorney General and to instruct the county boards of elections to place his name on the to the ballot for the upcoming Republican Party Primary election.
JURISDICTION 2. This court has original jurisdictiotl over this action pursuant to Article IV, Section 2(B)(I)(d) of the Oh io Constitutiott.

PARTIES 3. Itelator Steve Christopher is a qualilied clector residing in Hardin County who
desires to be a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for election to the office of Ohio Attorney General. 4. Respotident Jennifet- Brunner is the Ohio Secretary of State and the chief elections ofl cer of the State o['Ohio. ALLECATIONS 5. R.C. Chapter 3513 sets forth the requirenients for ballot access for persons desit-ing to become a candidale for a party nomination. In non-presidentiai primary years, such petsons must fde a declaration of candidaey and petition on or be1'otx; the seventy-fifth day be['orc the day of the primary election. The requirements for the form and content of the declaration and petition are found in R.C. 3513.07.

6. To qualify as a candidate for the Republican nomination for election to the office o fA ttorncy General, Mr. Christopher needed to file, on or before February 18, 2010, a Dcclaration of Candidacy and Petition containing (lie signatures of at least 1,000 electors who are members of the Republican Party.

7. The Ohio Secretary of' State publishes Form No. 2-B, entitled "Declaration of C:atididacy: Party Primary Election," for usc by persons desiring to become a candidate for a
party nommation.

,

8. On oi- ahout February 8, 2010, volunteers working on Mr. Christopher's behalf began collecting signatures for Mr. Cht•istopher's candidate petitions. 9. On February 18, 2008, Mr. Christopher personally Piled his Declaration of Candidacy and Candidate Petition (on Form No. 2-B) with the Secretary of State (hereal'ter referred to as the "Petition.")
10. At the time of this fiting, the Secretary of State's office issued Mr. Christopher a receipt, on Secretary of State Form 18, acknowledging that Mr. Christopher had filed approxinnately 2,750 signatures. I'he receipt is time stamped as being received on February 18, 2010, at 12:29 p.m. A ti-ue and accurate copy of the receipt is attached as Exhibit 1 and made a pat•t hereof. I I . (minediately prior to filing the Petition, Mr. Christopher and a campaign volunteer obtained copies of the part-petitions that he filed with the Secretary of State. 12. Mr. Christopher had in liis possession an additional 75 part petitions containing in excess of 500 signatures of purpotted Ohio electors who are members of the Republican Party which he did not (ile. (I-le still lias the originals of thesc petitions in his possession.) tle withheld

these additional petitions because Ohio law clearly requires the Secretary of State to reject petitions ttiat appear to contain more than three thousand signatur-es. 13. tndeed, R.C. 3513.05 states that "the secretary of state sliall not accept or file any such petition [for party nomination] appearing on its face to contain signatures of more than three thousand electors."
14. Mr. Christopher withheld the additional 75 part petitions because he wanted to be absolutcly ccrtain that lie did not file a petition that contained more lhati 3,000 signatures. 15. Upon inforrnation and belief, on March 5, 2010, the Secretary issued a press release amiouncing the statewide candidates that she had certified to the ballot.' The press release also announced the candidates that had filed petitions but which she had not certified to the batlot. The press release on the Secretary's website contained a link to a spr-eadshect showing the "number of part petitions sertt" and "the nurnber of signatures sent" by the Secretary to the boards ofelections for verification, and the "number of valid part petitions," the "number of invalid part petitions," and the "numbea- of valid signatures" reported to the Secretary by the boards of elections. 16. The spreadsliect for Mr. Christopher indicated the following totals: Number of' Signatures on Invalid Part Petitions

Numbcr of Part Pctitiow Sent 104

Number of Valid Part 13etitions

Number of Valid Siinatures

Number of lrwalid Signatures

Number ot' Invalid Part Petitions

Number of Signatures Sent

104

638

166

0

0

788

I'hc, press release is available on the Secretary 5 wehsite jl htty nwwso, tit^ic.oh.u5/^OSlPres^kclcascs!'O10/2Q10-0i-( 5.aspx (last checked March 12, 2010).

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17. '1'hus, even tliough Mr. Christopher submitted at least 242 part petitions containing at least 2,352 signatures of purported Ohio electors, according to the Secretary's work log which she released to the media, she only sent 104 part petitions containing 788 signatures of purported Ohio electors to the boards ol'cleetions for their verification `

18. According to the Secretary's work log, Mr. Christopher's signature validation rate was 81 %. If the Secretary had sent the 242 part petitions containing 2,352 signatures that Mr. Christopher fited, Mr. Christopher would only have needed to attain a 43% validation rate to have reached the requisite 1,000 signatures.
19. On March 5, 2010, the Secretary's oH ice sent a letter, which Mr. Christopher received on March 8, stating that the Secretary was not certifying his candidacy due to a lack of sufficient valid signatures. 1'he letter informed Mr. Christopher that he had only submitted 638 valid signatures and tllus his name would not appear on the Republican Party's ballot at the May 4, 2010 Primary Election. A true and accurate copy oithe letter is attached as Exhibit 2 and made a part hereoi'. 20, On March 5, 2010, the Secrctary issued Directive 2010-42 to the county boards of election. '1'his Directive contained the forin fot-the printary ballots for the major and minor political parties, including the Republican Party. Mr. Christopher's name does not appear on the form for the Republican Party primary. 21. On March 9, 2010, in response to Mr. Christopher's publicly stated objections to the Secretary s reI'usal to certify his eandidacy, the Seeretary issued a press release wherein she stated:

^ The Secretary's work log indicates a total of 788 sigmrtures sent to the boards of elections. But if you calculate the totals in each row, the actual total nurnber of signatures is 804. In other words, the Secretary's work log, which is prepared in an Excel spreadsheet, iniscalculates the number• of signatures the Secrelary claims to have sent to lhc hoards of elections.

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"Mr. Christophei- is an attorney. Most attorneys I know keep a copy for thcir file when they file a document with a court or public office. It's what we're taught to do in law schoot to keep good records for our clients, even when we may be our own client." "We haven't hear-d from Mr. Christopher, aad I'm surprised that he hasn't just called or come to otu- office to try to resolve what he ctaims are discrepancies between what was filed and what was examined by ttie state's bipartisan boards of elections and found to be deficient. We would be more than happy to work through this issue with Iiim, it'he would ask us."

22. On March 10, 2010, in response to the invitation in the Secretary's press release,
Mr. Christopher contacted the Secretary's office, through counsel, and indicated his willingness to "work through thic] issue" with the Secretary. Mr. Christopher, through his counsel, advised the Secretary's attorneys that he would provide the Secretary's office with copies of part petitions that Mr. C.hristopher had filed but which the Secretary's office claims to not have in its possession. Mr. Christopher's counsel further requested that, upon i-eceipt and review of those part petitions, ttlat the Secretary immediately forward them to the county boards of elections for verification. 23. On March 12, 2010, Mr. Cht-istopher, through counsel, sent copies to the Seeretary ot' 140 part petitions containing in excess of 1,500 signatures of purported electors who are members of thc Republiean Party. Although the originals o('these part petitions were filed by Mr. Christopher on I^ebruaty 18, 2010, according to ttie Secretary, her office did not send any of thein to the county boards ot'eleetion for verification. 24. Despite her invitation to "work through this issue" with Mr. Christopher, as of the time this Complaint was signed, the Secretary had reftised to send the 140 part petitions to the counf:y boards of elections lor verification and had refused to instruct the county boards of election to place Mr. Christopher's name on the ballot pending final determination of whether

Mr. Christopher had submitted a sufficient number of signatures to qualify for certification to the ballot. 25_ Upon information and belief, the Secretay's staffhas been searching the Secretary's office for the missing petitions that Mr. Christopher filed on February 18, 2010.

CLAIM FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS 26. Relator restates the allegations in paragraphs I through 25 as if fully restated herein. 27. Relator's Petition satisfies the requirements of R.C. 3513.05 and other applicable provisions of Ohio election law. Notwithstanding the invalidation of some signatures, the Petition which Relator filed with the Secretary of State on February 18, 2010 contains a sufficient number of valid signatures of electors who are members of the Republican Party. 28. Accordingly, the Secretary has a clear legal duty to certify Relator as a candidate for the Republican nomination foi- election to the office of Ohio Attorney General and to instruct the county boards of election to place his name on the ballot for the Republican Primary election on May 4, 2010.
29. In the altei7iative, the Secretary has a clear legal duty to send all of the partpetitions that Relator filed with her office on February 18, 2010, to the county boards of'eleetions for verification and, upon being informed by the boards of elections that Relator's Petition contains 1,000 or more valid signatures, to certify Relator's candidacy and instruct the county boards of efections to place his name on the Republican Primary ballot. 30. The Secretary abused her discretion and acted in clear disregard of the law by not sending Mr. Christopher's Petition to the boai-ds of election for verification and by not certifying

Mr. Chi-istopher`s candidacy for the Republic.an nomination for election to the office of Ohio Attorney General. 31. Relator has a clear legal right to be eertified as a candidate and to have his name placed on the ballot for the Republican Party primary. In the alternative, Relator has a clear legal right to have the entirety of the Petition that he filed with the Ohio Secretary of State on February 18, 2010, sent to the boards of election for verification oi'the signatures.

32. Relator has no adequate rernedy at law. WHEREFORE, Relatot• prays for judgment against Resportdent and that the Court:
A. Adjudge, decree and declare the riglits and other legal relations of the parties to the subject inatter in controversy in order that such declarations shall have the force and effect of'{"inal judgment and Chat the Court retain jurisdiction of this matter for the purpose of enforcing the Court's Orders; 13. Issue a Peremptory and/or Permanent Writ of Mandamus directing the Secretary to certify Relator as a eandidate for ttte Republican Party's nomination for election to the office of Ohio Attoi-ney General and to instruct the county boards of election to place his name on the Republican Pritnary ballot for May 4, 2010; or C. In the alternativc, issue a Peremptory and/or Permanent Writ of Mandatnus directing the Secretary to send ihe Petition whicti Relator filed on Fcbruary 18, 2010, including the copies of the part petitions provided by Relator to the Secretary after learning that the Secretary had misplaced the originals, to the county boards of elections for verification and, further, upon hearing from the boards that Refator subrnitted 1,000 or more signatures, to certity Relator as a

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candidate for the Republican nornination for election to the office of Ohio Attorney General; D. Issue an Alternative Writ staying the Secretary's decision uot to certify Relator as a candidate and, further, directing the Secretary to instruct the county boards of elections to place Relator's name on the Republican Primary ballot pending the Court's resolution of Relator's mandamus claim; E. Award Itelator his costs and expenses incurred in bringing this action, including his reasonable attorney fees; and F. Grant such other and further relief as the Court deems equitable, just and proper. Respectfully submitted,

//a1i L0/4 David R. Lang on (0067046) ('otensel of 2ecord Bradley M. I'eppo (0083847) LANGDON Lnw LLC
I 1 175 Reading Rd., Ste. 104 Cincinnati, Ohio 45241 (513) 577-7380 (5I3)577-7383 fax dlangdon@langdonlaw.com bpeppoP.langdonlaw.com

a vnq 0 1

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CoaFfzsel for Relator Sleve Christopher

AFF STATE OF OHIO
ss. COUNTY OF HARDIN

AV['f

I. Steve Christopher, being first dnly sworn according to law, depose and state that I have read the foregoing f:oinplaint for Writ of Mandatnus and the statements eontained in the Complaint, which are incorporated and made, a haa-t of this Affidavit as if completely rewritten

herein, are true based on ttty personal knowletlge, and I am conipetent to testify to samc.

S'kvorn to arid subscribed bctiii-e me on this 12"' day of March, 20I0.

DEANGU --._, S^eda ?I, 304

PRAECIPE TO CLERK Please serve the foregoing Complaint for Writ of Mandamus on the Respottdent named herein, as foll(iws: HON. .IENNIF'E,R BRUNNL'R Ohio Secretary of State
180 East Broad Street Columbus, Ohio 43215

^^^/P,a ^s^^A
° David R. Langdoti (0067046) CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
1'he undersigned certiFes that a eourtesy copy of the f'oregoing Complaint for Writ of Mandanius was served by electronic mail oti ttte 12`" day oi' March, 2010 upon the following: Rrian Shinn hslunn rrsos.st ite.ob, Es Aaron I). Epstcin Aaron Lps- eirt^tiiohioattonrey^r^cral.^o^_ Damian Sikora I?amt^in.5il:ot t ^ o^tt^attotncl:g^^iut^_.eq_v_ cr Richard N. Coglianese _ ILicharcl.C;ggh wc 5c'rr!o hso ittoenc^^< nc_^tLt^gv I'carl Chin Pcntl C h^n'^t ohioattorttcv^erteral. ^ov_

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14di4

avid R. Langdon (0067046)

J - --->

Fomi No. 18 Prescdbed by Sccretary ofState (42•10)

PETITION FILING FORM ANDI ^ i t I^y ej;
CANDIDATE FINANCIAL DISCLOSIII2E FORM ACKNOWLEDGMENT To bc completed by ail candidates for state office and state board of education member
Revised Code 102.02, 102.09

Name of candidatee C^s`z 12^{1e_,(
Office sought---I{'Yvtf,4 (\ PY^eJ'^^ : { . ... . .----- .. ^

Approximate number of petition signatures filed__ c2 --7 50 Filing i`ee Paid

Date of 6ling_ Name of election officiai receivingfiling^}^j ra n a(L ^^Q wn F E 1 F+rtnc covn5et

CANDIDATE FINANCIAL DISCLOSUI2E FORM ACKNOWLEDGMENT
ParsuanR to ILC. 102.09(A), the Secretary of State is reqnired to furnish to each candidate for eiective office who is required to file a tanancial disclosure statement by B.C. 102.02, a tiaancial disclosure form and to notify the appropriate ethics commission ( Ohio Ethics Commission or Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court of Ohio) within FiReen days of certification of the natnc of the candidate. The caradidate shall acknowledge receipt of the 6nanciai disclosure form in writing.

hereby acknowledge that the Secretary of State has
(Nimic or candidate or compaign renrescntetive)

provided me with a financiai disclosure statement. Aithough a candidate may authorize asampaign representative to sign this form on behalf of the candidate, under Ohio law the candidate is responsibie for filing a fiuanciai disclosure statement as required by ILC. 102.02.
N^ Dated this ( ^ -° day of

(Signature of candid

^/ 1-or campatgn r resentat ve)

EXHIBIT I

.YEFINIFER BRC1NNER OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE
100 GAST BROAD S}gEET. 16TH FLOOR CDLUM9US.O110 43215 USA

TeLU1-877-767-0446 FAZ1-614-644-0645 WbVI@', SO^"-4lA'1 E.OlIUB

March 5, 2ozo
Steve Chri,Gtopher 1657 C.R. 175 Forest, OH 45843 Re: Declaration of candidacy and petition

Dear Mr. Christopher: On February 18, 2ozo, you filed a declaration of canclidacy and petition with the Ohio Secretary of State's office seeking the Republicair Party's nomination for the oflice of Attorney General at the May 4, 2010 PrimaryElec'tion. I regreL to inforrn you that your candidacy was not certified due to a lack of sufficient valid signatares. Ohio law requires at least tooo valid signatures from Ohio electors who are affiliated with the same political party as the candidate or who are unaffiliated. You only submitted 638 valid signatures with your declaration of candidacy and petition. "I'his means that your name will not appear on the Republican Part,y's ballot at the May 4, 2010 Primary Election. You may contact Brian E. Shinn, Assistant General Counsel and Chief Elections Counsel, at 614466-25£3g, if'you have any questions. Sinccrely,

^ j^r/ ^ ^/l (^ ^,
Michael Rankin
Assistant Secretary of Stat

EXHiBIT 2

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