Court: Election denier can run for Ohio secretary of state
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A conservative podcaster who embraces former President Donald Trump’s discredited claims of a stolen 2020 election is eligible to run for Ohio secretary of state this fall, the state’s high court ruled Tuesday.
Terpeshore “Tore” Maras, who calls President Joe Biden “resident not president” and embraces aspects of the QAnon conspiracy in her “Tore Says” podcast, will appear on ballots as an independent.
She faces Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Democratic challenger Chelsea Clark.
The Ohio Supreme Court split 4-2 in its ruling, with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican, joining the court’s three Democrats, Justices Pat DeWine and Pat Fischer dissenting and Justice Sharon Kennedy not participating.
The decision marks the latest twist in Maras’ rollercoaster bid to seek the office overseeing Ohio elections. She previously met the deadline to run as a Republican candidate for the ballot back in February, but fell short of the required valid signatures.
LaRose’s office later cleared her to run as an independent, but a Republican official — acting in his capacity as an Ohio voter — filed a challenge, asserting a number of her signatures were invalid. A judge ruled in the official’s favor and LaRose’s office upheld that decision and invalidated her candidacy.
She sued, alleging more of the voter signatures she submitted as an independent should be counted as valid and that LaRose’s office didn’t follow their own procedures for counting her signatures. The court’s majority agreed that LaRose’s office “acted in clear disregard of the applicable law when he refused to count the additional verified signatures” Maras had submitted.
In his dissent, DeWine said Maras’ court filing failed to meet a host of technical requirements, making it invalid.
By JULIE CARR SMYTH