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County elections board moves two polling locations

Newton Falls councilman faces another challenge to candidacy

WARREN — The Trumbull County Board of Elections voted Tuesday to change the location of two voting locations in Warren and Liberty.

First United Methodist Church on North Park Avenue closed its doors in 2019, so Warren precincts 2F, 2G and 4D are moving a couple of doors down. The Warren SCOPE Center at 375 N. Park Ave. will now host the three precincts.

First Christian Assembly Church on Cardinal Drive in Liberty declined to continue hosting voters in the Liberty G precinct, so Liberty G voters now will vote at the Liberty Recreation and Impact Center (the old high school gym), 317 Churchill Road, along with voters in the Liberty B, D, E and N precincts.

The board of elections will send out notices to all the voters in the affected precincts, and signs will be posted at the old and new locations on Election Day.

Both locations are compliant with access requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act, Trumbull County Board of Elections Deputy Director Ron Massullo said, and are large enough to accommodate parking needs and have the space inside for lines to form out of the weather, if necessary.

The board also voted to approve a 35-cent raise for poll workers and a 35-cent raise for temporary, seasonal board workers, increasing the rate to $10.45 per hour.

The board is expected to hire four seasonal warehouse workers for the upcoming presidential primary March 17 and six election assistants. Though the board is hiring more election assistants than in previous years, they will be utilized on a more part-time, flexible basis, giving the board the freedom to bring people in on the days help is needed, Massullo said.

“This being a presidential election, we want to have the flexibility to be prepared,” Massullo said.

The board will bring on more than 600 poll workers for the election, so each of the 56 voting locations in the county have enough people to man the polls.

“We’re building an army of poll workers,” Massullo said.

The board briefly discussed the challenge to Lyle Waddell’s candidacy in Newton Falls’ 3rd Ward. Two more letters, in addition to an original challenge, were submitted to the board.

The board is scheduling a hearing for the challenges in the next few weeks.

All three letters question whether the village’s charter allows Waddell, who served two terms as mayor before being appointed to the 3rd Ward position, to run to keep the council seat because of term limits. Though Waddell contends he is within his rights to seek a council seat, challengers say the charter is clear that a mayor is a member of council and so Waddell has reached his two-term limit.

The charter states the mayor is the “presiding member of the city council” and “shall be recognized as a member of council, but shall have a vote only in the event of a tie.” It also reads: “A councilman may be elected to an unlimited number of terms but may not serve any more than two consecutive terms at a time.”

Fellow 3rd Ward candidate Tesa Spletzer filed the first challenge, and Edward Carr of Mahoning Court in Newton Falls filed a Dec. 27 challenge.

Former Mayor Pat Layshock filed the third challenge Friday.

Layshock’s challenge states he was mayor when the term limits were first set and he was the first person subjected to the term limits. In 2001 and 2002, Layshock declined to run for a council seat because of the charter’s section on term limits, which was amended and clarified after 1992.

In 1992, a law director determined the mayor wasn’t a member of council, “As a result, the same charter review commission that suggested term limits forwarded the amended language to the definition of the mayor, establishing his membership of council. The mayor is president of council and shall (preside) over all sessions of council. The mayor is limited only in voting. He enjoys all privilege of council and also the restrictions,” Layshock’s challenge states.

Allowing Waddell to proceed disregards the will of the village to set term limits for its officials, Layshock states, citing ballot measures where voters approved the limits “multiple times.”

When the first challenge was filed, Waddell said, “If I thought there was a problem, I wouldn’t have run. I’ve been advised by the law director (A. Joseph Fritz) I’m permitted to run. There is no issue. Everything is legal.

“The board of elections isn’t the right venue. The board of elections asks to turn in petitions. They don’t interpret the charter. Her protest is unfounded as far as I’m concerned.”

Waddell, Spletzer and Dougle Hankins filed for the 3rd Ward seat with the top two vote-getters in the March 17 primary moving to the November general election.

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