The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that governmental bodies cannot conduct public business through secret ballots.
In a decision reached on Wednesday, after a ruling on a lawsuit involving a Cuyahoga County newspaper back in 2016 saying that the village council violated Ohio's Open Meetings Act by voting through secret ballot to elect a councilmember as president pro tempore.
The court found that open meetings require that the public have what they called “meaningful access” to deliberations that take place among a public body’s members, including being able to determine how participants vote.
Lower courts had once sided with the village believing that towns and villages could have their own voting rules and did not violate the state statute since the winner was announced in an open session.
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