Although Republican voters in North Royalton did not have a candidate for an Ohio House Representative to vote for in the August 2 primary, they will have an opportunity to elect a Republican candidate come November 8. The only catch is that they will have to remember the name of the candidate, write it in and fill in the little oval on the left.
North Royalton resident and attorney Nicholas E. Phillips (Nick Phillips) has thrown his hat in the ring for the position of Ohio House Representative. Phillips submitted his declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate with the Cuyahoga County Board of Election before the State’s August 29 deadline. Many voters believe that one can always just write in a candidate of their choosing. That is not the case. According to the laws of the State of Ohio, a write-in candidate must file the declaration within the pre-set deadlines with the State if they wish to be considered as a qualified candidate.
Phillips circulated petitions to be placed on the August 2 ballot and tried to submit them to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in the first week of June. Phillips said he submitted 107 signatures, more than the required 50. He said that the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections were instructed by the Ohio Secretary of State to not accept the petitions, or the request for a write in candidate, as the February deadline had passed. The situation was caused by the lateness of the Ohio district map approval process, which has made changes that left some voters disenfranchised.
The redistricting process, which takes place after each census, has been affected by anti-gerrymandering rules that were approved in 2015, plus lawsuits that have been filed against the maps that were previously drawn. It took several attempts for the Ohio Supreme Court to adopt the newly created district map that identifies the various voting districts in Ohio. The map actually was not approved until after the Ohio May 3 primary, which then caused the need for a second primary on August 2, in order to allow for the Ohio house races.
Although the second primary date was created, the Ohio Secretary of State, Frank LaRose, did not change the calendar that identifies the deadlines for candidates to submit petitions to run. The original deadline for the May primary was in February. At that time, the district where North Royalton resides is different than the current district, as the newly approved map shifted North Royalton into a new district. Previously, North Royalton was in a district with Strongsville and Berea, with Tom Patton as the district’s Ohio House Representative. With the new map, North Royalton is now in District 15, along with Broadview Heights, Seven Hills, part of Brooklyn and part of Cleveland. In February, when the candidate’s petitions were due, North Royalton was in a district that already had a candidate.
Phillips said that he has spent his career using the law and applying the law. This step in running for the Ohio legislature seems to be natural that, if elected, he would then spend his time making the law. He notes that he is not making this step as a start of a political career and will not seek a second term. “I will go down to Columbus for one thing – to work,” said Phillips.
For those who are interested in writing in Nick Phillips as their candidate for the District 15 Ohio House Representative, they need to make sure that they fill in the oval and then write his name. According to Cuyahoga County Board of Elections officials, as long as the voter’s intention is clear, then their ballot choice will be accepted. So, if the name is Nicholas and you put Nick or if it is misspelled, then it will still be valid. They stressed, also, that the oval must be filled in.

Contributing Writer