(WKBN) – The Supreme Court of Ohio has ruled that the Mahoning County Board of Elections must place Eric Ungaro on the November 2022 general-election ballot as an independent candidate for the office of state representative.

The ruling comes after the Board of Elections voted not to accept petitions filed by the Poland Township trustee to run as an Independent for Ohio State Representative.

David Betras, the chairman of the Board of Elections, argued that Ungaro hadn’t fully disassociated himself from the Democratic Party. Ungaro stated it simply wasn’t true, and despite previously being a life-long Democrat, he had done everything necessary to remove himself from the party and to become independent.

On August 25, Ungaro filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court. The lawsuit stated that the board didn’t allow him to present evidence supporting his Independent status and that an unnamed member of the Board of Elections practiced “improper circumvention” of the Ohio Revised Code when she changed her initial vote supporting his petition to run as an Independent.

Ungaro argued that the board abused its discretion in rejecting his petition. In the Supreme Court ruling, it stated, “we agree with Ungaro’s argument that the board abused its discretion.”

We reached out to Ungaro for a comment on the ruling but have not yet heard back.

Betras said he has a different opinion than the Supreme Court but said he will respect the process and move forward. He said Ungaro’s name will be printed on the ballots.

Gerry Ricciutti contributed to this report.