14 Common Mistakes that Invalidate a Candidate Petition
1. Statement of Candidacy is not completely filled out. (This includes designating whether youre running for a full term or unexpired term.)
2. Candidate forgets to sign the Statement of Candidacy.
3. Nominating Petition section or Petition for Candidate section is not completely filled out.
4. Circulator Statement section is not completely filled out: name of circulator is not printed; circulator forgets to fill in the number of signatures, to sign, or to write their street address; circulator writes a P.O. Box as their address.
5. Signer forgets to write in their voting residence address street and number.
6. Signer forgets to write in the city, village or township.
7. Signer forgets to write the date on which the signature was affixed.
8. The signature on the petition does not match the signature on file with the board of elections.
9. Circulator signed the part-petition he or she was circulating.
10. The signature and address are unreadable.
11. The signer is not registered to vote.
12. The address provided on the petition paper is not the address on file with the board of elections.
13. Signatures are not written in ink.
14. A signers signature date precedes candidate signature date in Statement of Candidacy section.
Seventeen of the 90 individuals who filed petitions to run for elected office in Madison County will not appear on the Nov. 3 ballot. The Board of Elections deemed their petitions invalid.
The reasons range from incomplete forms and incorrect information to invalid signatures.
Individuals whose petitions were rejected had until Aug. 31 to file protests. Nick Christopher of Plain City is the only person who did.
The individuals whose petitions were rejected and therefore who cannot run for office in November are:
• Janet N. Ervin and Tina P. Kelley—They filed to run for Midway Village Council.
Incumbent Robert Butz is the only person whose petition was approved. There are four seats up for election.
• Clarence E. Liff Jr. and Jim Williams—They filed for election to Mount Sterling Village Council. Both are currently on council.
The board approved petitions from James Davis, who is currently on council, as well as Nick Haddox, Jason Hunt and Diane Spradlin. There are four seats up for election.
• Nick Christopher and Raymond Todd Skidmore—They filed for Plain City Village Council. Skidmore is currently on council.
The board approved petitions from incumbents Mark Hostetler and Douglas Saxour, as well as James Moore. There are four seats up for election.
• Thomas C. Phillips—He filed to run for the Ward 1 seat on West Jefferson Village Council.
The board approved petitions from John Stanley Jr. and Darlene Steele, who currently holds the seat.
• Ronald L. Garver—He filed to run for the Ward 3 seat on West Jefferson Village Council. No one else filed for this seat.
• Don Schrock and Don Whitmer—They filed for the Canaan Township Trustees. Whitmer currently serves as a trustee.
The board approved petitions from incumbent Monroe E. Harbage and Mark Ishmael for the two full-term seats up for election. They approved the petition of James I. Meeker for the unexpired term.
• Bob Depew—He filed to run for the Darby Township Trustees.
The board approved petitions from Klaas R. Friesen and Michael George. There are two seats up for election.
• Monte H. Weisheimer—He filed to run for Monroe Township Trustees.
The board approved petitions from Philip A. Adelsberger and Lloyd Tony Frey, who currently serves as a trustee. There are two seats up for election.
• Robert M. Higgins and Brian J. Mast—He filed to run for Oak Run Township Trustees.
The board approved petitions from Charles A. Farmer and Kelley Manns. There are two seats up for election.
• Bruce Crain and Christopher R. Jacobs—They filed to run for Paint Township Trustees.
The board approved petitions from Steven L. Creamer, Philip C. Eades who is currently a trustee, and Jeff Kimbler. There are two seats up for election.
• Gary Scheiderer—He filed to run for Pike Township Trustees. He currently serves as a trustee.
The board approved the petition of Michael K. Boerger, who currently serves as a trustee. There are two seats up for election.
Anyone who wants to run for elected office must gather a certain number of signatures from registered voters in their area. Those signatures go on petitions, which the potential candidate picks up from the Board of Elections, circulates, then turns back into the board when done.
In November 2007, the Madison County Board of Elections voted to stop pre-verifying candidate petitions. That means elections staff do not review a submitted petition with the candidate to make sure it has been filled out properly and that the signatures are valid before it is officially filed.
Ohio law states that it is the candidates responsibility, not that of the elections staff, to make sure the petitions have been filled out correctly, said Madison County Board of Elections Director Timothy A. Ward.
“The Secretary of State, at every conference, advises elections boards not to pre-verify just because of the problems it can open up.
Those problems include the potential for error or favoritism on the staffs part, Ward said.
“We cant be judge and jury, he said, also noting that pre-verification doubles an elections staffs workload because they are essentially checking petitions twice, once before they are filed and again after.
Because they do not pre-verify, the Madison County Board of Elections accepts petitions without looking at them until after the filing deadline. The deadline for the Nov. 3 election was Aug. 20.
After the deadline, the staff first looks to see if the petition form was completed correctly. If it was, they then review the signatures and addresses collected on the form, comparing them with the signatures and addresses they have on file for each registered voter.
Help Ahead of Time
While the Elections Board staff does not fill out petitions for a candidate or correct mistakes, they do provide the candidate with thorough instructions on how to handle petitions.
When a person first picks up petitions, elections officials verbally explain how to fill them out. They also review with that person a checklist that lists the form requirements. The person must sign the checklist. The board also provides the candidate with a candidate requirement guide from the Ohio Secretary of State and a four-page handout that lists how to properly complete a petition, the requirements for petition circulators, the requirements for petition signers, and 14 common problems.
Staffers will answer petitioners questions by phone or in person, up to a point.
“Until you start collecting signatures, were more than happy to help you. Once you collect that first signature, were done, Ward said.
For more information on elections procedures, call the Madison County Board of Elections at (740) 852-9424 or visit the Ohio Secretary of States Web site at www.sos.state.oh.us.