May ballot firmed up; Three petitions rejected

(Posted Feb. 26, 2015)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The Madison County Board of Elections rejected three candidate petitions for the May 5 election. All lacked the required number of valid signatures.

In the West Jefferson mayor’s race, Brian Williams needed 25 valid signa-tures. He turned in 30, but only 24 were valid. That leaves Steven Johnston and Ray Martin in the race. West Jefferson’s charter requires at least three candidates to hold a May run-off. With only two, there will be no May election in West Jefferson. Johnston and Martin automatically move on to the November ballot. The race is non-partisan.

In the race for London council’s Ward 4 seat, Democrat Butch Scott needed 25 valid signatures. He turned in 33, but only 23 were valid. Republican Rex Castle, the only other candidate to file a petition, was certified.

In the race for London council presi-dent, Republican John Stahl needed 50 valid signatures. He turned in 58, but only 49 were valid. No other partisan candidates filed petitions. Jennifer Hitt filed as an Independent for the seat.

Independents do not appear on the May primary ballot; they go on the November ballot. The deadline to file as an Independent for any of the London city government seats up for election this year is May 4. The elections board will certify Independent candidate petitions July 15.

The London candidates certified for the May Republican primary election are:

  • Mayor—Pat Closser and Henry Comer
  • City auditor—Kathleen Hensel
  • City law director—Zahid Siddiqi
  • Council at-large (three seats open)—Megan Douglas, Roger Morris, Joshua Peters, Jason Schwaderer
  • Council Ward 1—Trint Hatt
  • Council Ward 2—Richard Minner
  • Council Ward 3—Lora Long
  • Council Ward 4—Rex Castle.

Invalid signatures

According to Tim Ward, director of the Madison County Board of Elections, there are four main reasons a signature on a candidate petition can be deemed invalid.

The most common reason is that the signature on the petition does not match the signature the elections board has on file (either on the voter’s registration card or from the last time they voted).

“Some people print their name on the petition, thinking that will make it easier for us to read. The signature has to match what we have on file,” Ward said.

A signature also can be deemed invalid if:

  • the signee is not a registered voter at the address they list on the petition;
  • the signee is not a member of the same political party as the candidate; or
  • the signee has changed their name (for instance, gotten married) but has not updated their voter registration with their new signature.

The deadline to register or update an existing registration in order to vote in the May 5 primary election is April 6. For more information, contact the Madison County Board of Elections at (740) 852-9424 or visit

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