A judge rules against a podcaster seeking to organize an election in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A conservative podcaster who embraces former President Donald Trump’s discredited claims about a stolen 2020 election is set to be kicked out of Ohio’s fall ballot, where she is seeking to become election chief of state, an Ohio judge recommended Friday.

Terpsehore “Tore” Maras has vowed to appeal if the recommendation is upheld.


What do you want to know

  • A conservative podcaster who embraces former President Trump’s discredited claims of a stolen 2020 election should be kicked out of Ohio’s fall ballot, where she is seeking to become the state election chief, a Ohio judge.
  • On Friday, retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell released his decision against Terpsehore “Tore” Maras
  • O’Donnell determined that 18 of the 35 disputed signatures were invalid, enough to bring Maras below the required 5,000
  • O’Donnell’s recommendation returns to the office of Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose for a final decision

“It’s just another way to thwart vocals that don’t fit in the neat boxes,” Maras told The Associated Press outside of his audition on Thursday.

Retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell issued his ruling against Maras on Friday, a day after an hour-long protest hearing on challenges to dozens of signatures that had qualified her for the ballot last month, as well as his decision to become an independent after not running for office as a Republican.

O’Donnell determined that 18 of the 35 disputed signatures were invalid, enough to bring Maras below the required 5,000.

O’Donnell’s recommendation goes back to Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office for a final decision. O’Donnell had been chosen to hear the case because LaRose is Maras’ potential opponent, a LaRose spokesperson said. A LaRose assistant handled the decision on her candidacy for the same reason.

“We appreciate Justice O’Donnell’s work and service in this case, and our team is currently reviewing his recommendation,” spokesman Rob Nichols said.

Ohio Republican Party Executive Director Justin Bis protested Maras as an Ohio voter. It comes in a year in which dozens of GOP candidates for secretary of state have faced challenges from 2020 presidential outcome deniers seeking to take over election administration.

Maras questions the legitimacy of the 2020 election and promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory on his podcast, “Tore Says.” His platform as Secretary of State includes removing all voting machines and returning to paper-only ballots, according to his website.

O’Donnell’s decision was just the latest in Maras’ arduous efforts to qualify for the Ohio ballot.

LaRose certified her candidacy as an independent on July 19. Her office determined, based on county election commission reviews, that she had submitted 5,010 valid signatures, 10 more than needed. The lawsuit filed by the state’s Republican Party executive director alleged that dozens were in fact disabled.

Before Maras launched her campaign as an independent, LaRose’s office listed her among the candidates in February who had met the filing deadline to run in the Republican primary in May. But, a few days later, he said his petitions had missed about half of the required 1,000 signatures and she was ineligible.

Maras challenged that decision in court and lost.

LaRose ultimately won the Republican nomination in May against former state Rep. John Adams, who is also questioning the 2020 election results. In addition to Maras, LaRose will face Democrat Chelsea Clark, a member of the suburban Cincinnati city councilor and businesswoman.

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