LIMA — Elizabeth Hardesty is spending the final weeks of her campaign assuring supporters that her candidacy stands, as the Lima Senior graduate continues to battle a civil lawsuit and allegations that she was not living in Lima six months before the campaign filing deadline.
Hardesty’s campaign on Thursday released a one-and-a-half-minute video addressing the allegations, which she described as a “political tactic” and “voter suppression at its worst.”
“Despite allegations filed by a supporter of one of my opponents, the fact remains that I am and will remain a candidate for mayor,” Hardesty says in the video. “Your vote for me will count. This is nothing more than a political tactic and it’s voter suppression at its worst.”
The Allen County Board of Elections voted 3-1 in March rejecting a challenge that Hardesty’s name be removed from the ballot, dismissing claims that Hardesty was not eligible to hold office in Lima because she was not a resident six months before the February candidate filing deadline.
But those allegations have resurfaced in a civil lawsuit now before the Allen County Common Pleas Court, which claims Hardesty was actually living in Houston and that she still holds a Pennsylvania driver’s license after purchasing property there as her “principal residence” in 2010.
Voting records show that Hardesty has claimed her Lincoln Avenue childhood home as her voting address since 2000. And Hardesty, 40, maintains that she has always been a resident of Lima, even though her work as an exploratory geologist often required extensive travel.
Allen County Prosecutor Juergen Waldick and Anthony Geiger, Lima’s law director, have filed motions to dismiss the City of Lima and Board of Elections from the suit, which listed them as defendants along with Hardesty. While Lima and Board of Elections director have been dismissed, the suit against Hardesty and other Board of Elections members was still active as of Thursday.
Early voting is already underway, with only 19 days remaining before voting ends May 4. Hardesty faces Sharetta Smith, Autumn Swanson and Joshua Hayes in a four-way run-off election for Lima’s mayor. The top two vote-getters will appear in November’s general election.
View the video here.