A Hudson City Council candidate will not be charged with illegal voting after a Summit County grand jury decided against moving forward with an indictment last week.
The Summit County Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday, Oct. 17, presented Katherine Schlademan’s case to the grand jury, which "voted to not indict Ms. Schlademan on any criminal offenses," said Brian LoPriniz, chief of the prosecutor’s office’s criminal division.
The Summit County Board of Elections in September referred the case to the prosecutor’s office after Schlademan told the board that she had voted in Stow while living in Hudson.
Schlademan said she is now looking forward to focusing on her campaign for the city council seat in Ward 1.
"I appreciate the decision," said Schlademan. "I’m thankful that’s the way they ruled, seeing it as just an honest mistake. I hope that others can learn from it and I hope to be able to help people know voter regulations better going forward."
The charge that Schlademan could’ve faced was illegal voting, a fifth-degree felony, according to James Pollack, a spokesperson for the county prosecutor’s office.
Pollack noted that in this situation prosecutors felt there was enough evidence to present the case to a grand jury.
He added his office does not know why the grand jury decided against issuing an indictment.
Board of Elections asked prosecutor to review case
Schlademan appeared before the board of elections on Aug. 29 after her Ward 1 City Council candidacy was challenged by another resident on the grounds that she had not lived in the city long enough to run for office. Schlademan provided documents showing she met the residency requirement, but, in the course of the hearing, admitted she had previously voted in Stow while living in Hudson.
"My driver’s license hadn’t expired yet," said Schlademan to the board on Aug. 29. "It had my parents’ address on it. I know that’s not the greatest answer, but it’s an honest one."
On Aug. 29, the board ruled Schlademan could remain a council candidate, but revisited the voting issue at a meeting in September, and decided to refer the matter to the county prosecutor.
The other Ward 1 council candidates are: are Rebecca Benson Leiter, Ron Panaggio and S. David Worhatch. Another candidate, George Roth, was deemed ineligible to run because his company has been contracted to perform work on the new city hall building.
Dennis Hanink, who is the current Ward 1 council member, announced earlier in the year that he would not seek re-election.
Editor’s note: Reporter April Helms contributed to this story.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.