Elections staff updates checklist

Packet intends to cut petition errors by wanna-be candidates.

A packet of information that would be given to individuals taking out petitions to run for elected office is ready for review by the Miami County Board of Elections.

Board members requested an updated and expanded packet at an August meeting after the board voted to reject 19 petitions of people hoping to be candidates on the November ballot for offices including school boards, township trustees and city or village councils/commissions.

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Two years ago, the board had elections staff develop a checklist for candidates to use in reviewing their petitions. The checklist was requested after that board threw out more than 30 petitions and heard an outcry from the public asking why so many candidates had been rejected.

The reasons for the rejections were similar in 2015 and this year.

A letter to candidates in the proposed updated packets lists the top four reasons petitions are thrown out:

• Circulator statement incomplete

• Declaration of candidacy/statement of candidacy dated after signatures collected

• Nomination petition/petition for candidate incomplete

• Insufficient number of valid signatures on petitions.

The proposed packet also includes an Ohio candidates guide, Secretary of State directives impacting candidates, a state campaign finance booklet, documents associated with finance reports, a revised checklist and a letter.

The letter includes the number of valid signatures needed on petitions to seek offices from U.S. senator to Common Pleas Court judge and township, village and city offices.

The proposed candidate filing checklist states at the top that the Ohio Secretary of State “prohibits Boards of Elections from pre-checking petitions for prospective candidates or petitioner who seek review of their petitions’ validity and sufficiency before the candidates or petitioners file their original petitions.”

It also notes that the Miami County Petition Review Policy prohibits election board employees from answering questions regarding the validity of petitions prior to board action.

The checklist also states, “It is the candidate’s sole responsibility to ensure that his or her petition satisfies the requirements of the law.”

The board was scheduled to review the proposed packet at its Aug. 29 monthly meeting but agreed, at the suggestion of Chairman Dave Fisher, to wait until the September meeting. Fisher’s request was made because that meeting was lengthy due to the board hearing protests filed by 10 of the 19 whose petitions were rejected. In the end, the board overturned the petition rejection for four candidates after hearing each appeal individually.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.

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