3501.90 Civil action by elector for harassment.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Harassment in violation of the election law" means either of the following:

(a) Any of the following types of conduct in or about a polling place or a place of registration or election: obstructing access of an elector to a polling place; another improper practice or attempt tending to obstruct, intimidate, or interfere with an elector in registering or voting at a place of registration or election; molesting or otherwise engaging in violence against observers in the performance of their duties at a place of registration or election; or participating in a riot, violence, tumult, or disorder in and about a place of registration or election;

(b) A violation of division (A)(1), (2), (3), or (5) or division (B) of section 3501.35 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Person" has the same meaning as in division (C) of section 1.59 of the Revised Code and also includes any organization that is not otherwise covered by that division.

(3) "Trier of fact" means the jury or, in a nonjury action, the court.

(B) An elector who has experienced harassment in violation of the election law has a cause of action against each person that committed the harassment in violation of the election law. In any civil action based on this cause of action, the elector may seek a declaratory judgment, an injunction, or other appropriate equitable relief. The civil action may be commenced by an elector who has experienced harassment in violation of the election law either alone or as a party to a class action under Civil Rule 23.

(C)

(1) In addition to the equitable relief authorized by division (B) of this section, an elector who has experienced harassment in violation of the election law may be entitled to relief under division (C)(2) or (3) of this section.

(2) If the harassment in violation of the election law involved intentional or reckless threatening or causing of bodily harm to the elector while the elector was attempting to register to vote, to obtain an absent voter's ballot, or to vote, the elector may seek, in a civil action based on the cause of action created by division (B) of this section, monetary damages as prescribed in this division. The civil action may be commenced by the elector who has experienced harassment in violation of the election law either alone or as a party to a class action under Civil Rule 23. Upon proof by a preponderance of the evidence in the civil action that the harassment in violation of the election law involved intentional or reckless threatening or causing of bodily harm to the elector, the trier of fact shall award the elector the greater of three times of the amount of the elector's actual damages or one thousand dollars. The court also shall award a prevailing elector reasonable attorney's fees and court costs.

(3) Whether a civil action on the cause of action created by division (B) of this section is commenced by an elector who has experienced harassment in violation of the election law alone or as a party to a class action under Civil Rule 23, if the defendant in the action is an organization that has previously been determined in a court of this state to have engaged in harassment in violation of the election law, the elector may seek an order of the court granting any of the following forms of relief upon proof by a preponderance of the evidence:

(a) Divestiture of the organization's interest in any enterprise or in any real property;

(b) Reasonable restrictions upon the future activities or investments of the organization, including, but not limited to, prohibiting the organization from engaging in any harassment in violation of the election law;

(c) The dissolution or reorganization of the organization;

(d) The suspension or revocation of any license, permit, or prior approval granted to the organization by any state agency;

(e) The revocation of the organization's authorization to do business in this state if the organization is a foreign corporation or other form of foreign entity.

(D) It shall not be a defense in a civil action based on the cause of action created by division (B) of this section, whether commenced by an elector who has experienced harassment in violation of the election law alone or as a party to a class action under Civil Rule 23, that no criminal prosecution was commenced or conviction obtained in connection with the conduct alleged to be the basis of the civil action.

(E) In a civil action based on the cause of action created by division (B) of this section, whether commenced by an elector who has experienced harassment in violation of the election law alone or as a party to a class action under Civil Rule 23, the elector may name as defendants each individual who engaged in conduct constituting harassment in violation of the election law as well as any person that employs, sponsors, or uses as an agent any such individual or that has organized a common scheme to cause harassment in violation of the election law.

Cite as R.C. § 3501.90

History. Effective Date: 05-02-2006