YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Youngstown Mayoral Candidate Sean McKinney filed a complaint Thursday, claiming November’s election was fraudulent. He said he wants a new election, overseen by the Ohio Secretary of State.
Chairman of the Mahoning County Board of Elections Mike Munroe and Youngstown’s Mayor-elect Jamael Tito Brown both welcome investigations into how the election was handled. They’re confident the result was correct.
Brown defeated McKinney in the race for Youngstown mayor by 198 votes, according to the board of elections.
McKinney claims some residents were denied the right to vote, while those in nursing homes with poor mental capacity were given provisional ballots.
Brown met with his transition team Thursday night but took time to discuss McKinney’s lawsuit.
“I’ve been in this situation before. I lost by less than the number of margin we have right now,” he said. “Sometimes it’s not easy to accept, but we have to accept it.”
McKinney said he is not being a sore loser.
He explained that 125 people may have somehow voted illegally. His complaint says there were 44 instances of signatures not matching the signatures on file, 39 people who voted twice, and 13 ballots that were not accompanied by voting stubs.
“We have heard about people in nursing homes being used as political pawns. People who can’t even ask for a glass of water but somehow requested an absentee ballot,” McKinney said.
Brown denied going to any nursing homes.
“I haven’t been to a nursing home since 2013. I didn’t go this election cycle. Now my campaign team members, we go out and canvas everywhere. That’s just campaign 101,” he said.
After the election, it was also revealed that over 6,000 ballots were double counted and incorrect election results were released to the public and the media. The board of elections said those numbers were corrected before they were sent to the state, however, and didn’t affect the election.
“Every voter should know their vote counted and that they can believe in the process of our elections. Unfortunately, many voters I have spoken with have no confidence in the system here in Mahoning County,” McKinney said in a statement. “Our campaign has uncovered many irregularities and is hearing new stories about this election every day.”
He hired election law Attorney Donald C. Brey, of the Columbus firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister, to represent his campaign.
McKinney thinks there are people who know more and he’s set up a website called, “I Voted for McKinney,” so that anyone with a story…
“Has the opportunity to tell us what truly happened to them,” he said.
Brown said that throughout the campaign, it was agreed that the losers would support the winner.
“That doesn’t seem to be the truth. Someone is being disingenuine when they say, ‘Well, now they won’t work with me. They won’t concede.’ The voters have spoken.”
Munroe called the allegations absurd. He released the following statement Thursday afternoon:
The suggestion that the election for mayor in the City of Youngstown was fraudulent is absurd. There are extensive checks to ensure that every election is conducted fairly and that the results reflect the will of the voters.
The complaint contains numerous allegations, and the board will respond to each and every question that was raised. I am confident that at the end of the day the courts will agree that the election was fair and the results are correct. Nothing is more important than faith and confidence in our voting system, and we are committed to being open and transparent about every part of the process.
I’m afraid that Mr. McKinney is wasting his money on a lawsuit, but I welcome the chance to have our processes be scrutinized so the public can have the confidence in the outcome.”
“At the end of the day, [McKinney’s] going to have to answer, why is he accusing everyone else but himself?” Brown said.
The case has been assigned to Mahoning County Judge John Durkin but given its nature, there’s a chance it could end up with a visiting judge.