By Alicia Benroth-Langhals

Staff Writer

PUTNAM COUNTY - In the past, Virginia Price, former Board of Elections director, had been accused of misusing her computer while in office. Additionally, a claim was made that an observer was illegally prohibited from a certain area of the elections office in the evening hours of an election day in 2008.

Special prosecutor at the Ohio Attorney General's Office, Ken Egbert on June 8 settled both assertions. In the end, he cleared Price and the Putnam County Board of Elections of any wrong doing.

"Once again, I am a victim of a reckless accusation," said Price on June 14. "Once again, the investigation was conducted and once again, I was totally exonerated. How much should one person have to put up with? This is getting ridiculous."

Alleged misuse in this case involves Republican Party documents Price created.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner filed this complaint against Price in 2009.

Being the top election official, Price is surprised with her lack of knowledge of election law.

Egbert determined all employees had access to the documents and Price did not "evince a specific intention o deprive the county of services to constitute theft."

In a letter addressed to Gary Lammers, Putnam County prosecutor and Brandy Seskes, elections counsel for the Ohio Secretary of State, Egbert, said a Secretary of State directive prohibits "members and employees of county boards of elections from engaging in political activities during board of elections time, it is not specific as to use of board of elections equipment. Moreover, a violation of this directive is not a criminal offense. Secretary of State Directive 2007-35 does not provide useful guidance for employees."