The Franklin County Board of Elections returned a Libertarian candidate for Reynoldsburg City Council to the November ballot Tuesday, July 23, about a week after being ordered to do so by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Robert Bender had filed suit seeking reinstatement for the Ward 3 race after elections officials invalidated several petition signatures he had submitted, leaving him short of the number needed to appear on the ballot.

According to court documents, Bender submitted his candidacy declaration in early February, and elections officials determined that he had the requisite valid petition signatures to qualify for the ballot.

He was unopposed in the primary and subsequently was certified for the Nov. 5 ballot.

However, another resident protested Bender’s petitions, challenging some of the validated signatures.

In June, the county elections board formally heard the challenge, compared signatures on Bender’s petitions with those on file with the board, determined several did not match and removed Bender from the general-election ballot.

The Ohio Supreme Court determined the elections board abused its discretion in the matter by acting more than two months after the primary and that the protestor had standing to challenge the signatures as a member of the Libertarian Party.

On July 23, without comment, the elections board certified Bender for the ballot, adding his name to nine other candidates earlier OK’d for several Reynoldsburg City Council races.

Incumbent Republican Marshall Spalding and Democrat Bhuwan Pyakurel also are running for the Ward 3 seat.

mkovac@dispatch.com

@OhioCapitalBlog