3517.152 Ohio elections commission.

(A)

(1) There is hereby created the Ohio elections commission consisting of seven members.

Not later than forty-five days after August 24, 1995, the speaker of the house of representatives and the leader in the senate of the political party of which the speaker is a member shall jointly submit to the governor a list of five persons who are affiliated with that political party. Not later than forty-five days after August 24, 1995, the two legislative leaders in the two houses of the general assembly of the major political party of which the speaker is not a member shall jointly submit to the governor a list of five persons who are affiliated with the major political party of which the speaker is not a member. Not later than fifteen days after receiving each list, the governor shall appoint three persons from each list to the commission. The governor shall appoint one person from each list to a term that ends on December 31, 1996, one person from each list to a term that ends on December 31, 1997, and one person from each list to a term that ends on December 31, 1998.

Not later than thirty days after the governor appoints these six members, they shall, by a majority vote, appoint to the commission a seventh member, who shall not be affiliated with a political party. If the six members fail to appoint the seventh member within this thirty-day period, the chief justice of the supreme court, not later than thirty days after the end of the period during which the six members were required to appoint a member, shall appoint the seventh member, who shall not be affiliated with a political party. The seventh member shall be appointed to a term that ends on December 31, 2001. Terms of the initial members appointed under this division begin on January 1, 1996.

(2) If a vacancy occurs in the position of the seventh member, who is not affiliated with a political party, the six remaining members by a majority vote shall appoint, not later than forty-five days after the date of the vacancy, the seventh member of the commission, who shall not be affiliated with a political party. If these members fail to appoint the seventh member within this forty-five-day period, the chief justice of the supreme court, within fifteen days after the end of this period, shall appoint the seventh member, who shall not be affiliated with a political party. If a vacancy occurs in any of the other six positions on the commission, the legislative leaders of the political party from whose list of persons the member being replaced was appointed shall submit to the governor, not later than thirty days after the date of the vacancy, a list of three persons who are affiliated with that political party. Not later than fifteen days after receiving the list, the governor, with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint one person from the list to the commission.

(3) At no time shall more than six members of the commission be affiliated with a political party, and, of these six members, not more than three shall be affiliated with the same political party.

(4) In making appointments to the commission, the governor shall take into consideration the various geographic areas of this state and shall appoint members so that those areas are represented on the commission in a balanced manner, to the extent feasible.

(5) Members of the commission shall be registered electors and shall be of good moral character.

(B) Each member of the Ohio elections commission shall hold office from the date of the member's appointment until the end of the term for which the member was appointed. A member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which the member's predecessor was appointed shall hold office for the remainder of that term. A member shall continue in office subsequent to the expiration date of the member's term until the member's successor takes office or until a period of sixty days has elapsed, whichever occurs first. After the initial terms of office provided for in division (A)(1) of this section, terms of office shall be for five years.

(C) A vacancy in the Ohio elections commission may be caused by death, resignation, or three absences from commission meetings in a calendar year if those absences are caused by reasons declared invalid by a vote of five members of the remaining members of the commission.

(D) Each member of the Ohio elections commission while in the performance of the business of the commission shall be entitled to receive compensation at the rate of twenty-five thousand dollars per year. Members shall be reimbursed for expenses actually and necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties.

(E) No member of the Ohio elections commission shall serve more than one full term unless the terms served are served nonconsecutively.

(F)

(1) No member of the Ohio elections commission shall do or be any of the following:

(a) Hold, or be a candidate for, a public office;

(b) Serve on a committee supporting or opposing a candidate or ballot question or issue;

(c) Be an officer of the state central committee, a county central committee, or a district, city, township, or other committee of a political party or an officer of the executive committee of the state central committee, a county central committee, or a district, city, township, or other committee of a political party;

(d) Be a legislative agent as defined in section 101.70 of the Revised Code or an executive agency lobbyist as defined in section 121.60 of the Revised Code;

(e) Solicit or be involved in soliciting contributions on behalf of a candidate, campaign committee, political party, political action committee, or political contributing entity;

(f) Be in the unclassified service under section 124.11 of the Revised Code;

(g) Be a person or employee who is excluded from the definition of public employee pursuant to division (C) of section 4117.01 of the Revised Code.

(2) No member or employee of the commission shall make a contribution to, or for the benefit of, a campaign committee or committee in support of or opposition to a ballot question or issue, a political party, a legislative campaign fund, a political action committee, or a political contributing entity.

(G)

(1) The members of the Ohio elections commission shall elect a chairperson and a vice-chairperson. At no time shall the chairperson and vice-chairperson be affiliated with the same political party. The chairperson shall serve in that capacity for one year and shall not serve as chairperson more than twice during a term as a member of the commission. No two successive chairpersons shall be affiliated with the same political party.

(2) The commission shall meet at the call of the chairperson or upon the written request of a majority of the members. The meetings and hearings of the commission or a panel of the commission under sections 3517.153 to 3517.157 of the Revised Code are subject to section 121.22 of the Revised Code.

(3) The commission shall adopt rules for its procedures in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. Five of the seven members constitute a quorum. Except as otherwise provided in this section and in sections 3517.154 to 3517.157 of the Revised Code, no action shall be taken without the concurrence of a majority of the members.

(H)

(1) The Ohio elections commission shall employ the technical, professional, and clerical employees that are necessary for it to carry out its duties.

(2)

(a) Notwithstanding section 109.02 of the Revised Code, the commission shall employ a full-time attorney, and, as needed, one or more investigatory attorneys to conduct investigations for the commission or a panel of the commission. The commission may employ or contract for the services of additional attorneys, as needed. The full-time attorney shall do all of the following:

(i) Serve as the commission's attorney in regard to all legal matters, including representing the commission at appeals from a final determination of the commission, except that the full-time attorney shall not perform the duties that an investigatory attorney is required or requested to perform or that another attorney the commission employs or contracts with for services is required or requested to perform, and shall not represent the commission in any legal proceeding in which the commission is a named party;

(ii) At the request of the commission or a panel of the commission, be present at a hearing held under sections 3517.154 to 3517.156 of the Revised Code to rule on the admissibility of evidence and to advise on the conduct of procedure;

(iii) Perform other duties as required by rule of the commission.

(b) An attorney employed by or under contract with the commission shall be licensed to practice law in this state.

(3)

(a) Except as otherwise provided in division (H)(3)(b) of this section, at least five members of the commission shall agree on the employment of a person, a majority of the members shall agree on the discharge of an employee, and a person employed by the commission shall serve at the pleasure of the commission.

(b) At least five of the seven members shall agree on the discharge of an investigatory attorney.

(I) There is hereby created in the state treasury the Ohio elections commission fund. All moneys credited to the fund shall be used solely for the purpose of paying expenses related to the operation of the Ohio elections commission.

Cite as R.C. § 3517.152

History. Effective Date: 12-22-1999; 03-31-2005; 04-26-2005; 06-30-2006