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Fight over traffic cam vote count continues

EAST LIVERPOOL

LISBON — The East Liverpool traffic camera issue may not be settled until after the Nov. 5 general election, but it appears the votes may be tabulated with the results kept confidential for the time being.

During a telephone conference on Tuesday, Krista Peddicord of the county prosecutor’s office, who is representing the board of elections, said she is leaning toward filing a motion that the judge will instruct the board to count the votes but not release the results to the public or to the state until they receive a further court order on the matter.

Besides Peddicord, the conference call included Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Washam, East Liverpool Law Director Charles Payne and attorney Kevin Daley, who is representing the citizens of group attempting to repeal the use of traffic cameras in the city.

Still waiting to be considered is whether the petitions filed by the citizens represents an initiative petition or a referendum. Payne continues to argue whether residents can use the same process to undo all the regulations passed into law in the city, such as dismantling the landlord laws recently put in place.

Additionally, Payne questions if this ballot issue would not also affect the way the East Liverpool police would be able to write tickets and conduct traffic stops in the traditional manner.

Daley argued he does not believe this will affect the enforcement of traditional traffic laws. He does, however, believe the idea of an initiative petition is to give citizens a remedy when an onerous law is passed.

After listening to their arguments, Washam asked for them to file their final written arguments before a 1:15 p.m. telephone conference now scheduled for Nov. 4, the day before the election. Daley asked for a chance to write a response to what the city submits as well.

The citizens group first sought to repeal the traffic camera law by filing a petition to get the issue on the ballot in 2017, which resulted in court action and an appeal. On Sept. 19 the Ohio 7th District Court of Appeals ruled in East Liverpool’s favor, saying the 2017 petitions were flawed because they were filed under the wrong law. However, the citizens group filed a corrected petition with the election board in 2018, but it was too late to go onto the November 2018 ballot.

This time the matter will appear on the ballot, but whether the voting results will ever be known is still being debated in Common Pleas Court.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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