State Sen. Frank LaRose's Bill On Superfluous Primaries Heads to the Ohio House

Dec 6, 2016

State Sen. Frank LaRose cites the uncontested special primary to replace Congressman John Boehner as particularly costly -- $340,000 -- for six boards of election in southern Ohio.
Credit JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A new bill is headed to the Ohio House to try to eliminate some of what its sponsor calls unnecessary primary elections.

The bill requires a special primary election only if two or more candidates are certified to appear on the ballot. It does not base primaries simply on how many people file to run – which is how it’s done now.

Republican State Sen. Frank LaRose says the reason for his bill is that candidates sometimes become ineligible – or even die – before the election is held, and the resulting uncontested special elections waste thousands of dollars.

The state Senate unanimously passed the bill last month, and LaRose says he’s heard of no opposition in the House.

“With only a few weeks of legislative work remaining, I don’t know if the House can get it done; I certainly hope they can and I would ask them to. But if not, we’ll bring it back next year.”

LaRose -- who represents much of Summit, Stark and Wayne Counties – says he does not see it as a way to circumvent the electoral process.

“When we work in Columbus, it’s good to listen to the experts. And in this case those experts are the folks from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, as well as the Ohio Association of Elections Officials, which is that bipartisan organization that represents these men and women that actually do this work day in and day out of conducting elections. They offered their full support to this and were very helpful in developing it.”