The Delaware County Board of Elections presented the first Candidate and Issue Workshop to 34 people Tuesday night with the goal of helping them through the petition process.
“The election process is paramount to our county and our freedom,” said Steve Cuckler, BOE member. “The process to be a candidate and to run for office is critical to our foundation. The goal of this office is to streamline that and make it as friendly as possible.”
County elected officials and township trustees were in attendance.
Before the workshop the board presented the first Excellence in Service Award to Joe DiGenova posthumously. DiGenova’s wife, Veronica, accepted the award on his behalf.
Cuckler and Bronwen Evener, BOE manager, presented the award.
“It’s important to recognize those who have gone above and beyond in our community,” Cuckler said. “We would like to recognize Joe DiGenova who had gone above and beyond to help the election process in this county.”
The workshop’s audience wasn’t limited to Delaware County.
Steve Smith from Marion is thinking of running for an office, but not quite sure which office. He learned of the workshop from a friend who works for Delaware County Job and Family Services.
Smith said he is curious about the process even though he doesn’t have a particular seat in mind now. “This is my first step,” he said. “I’m seeing what it involves.”
Others knew exactly which seat they would seek in November.
Mike Gemperline said he was attending the workshop because he is considering running for Liberty Township trustee.
Trustees Tom Mitchell and Shyra Eichhorn will have their terms end in December.
Gemperline said he wanted to “learn all the little ins and outs” of the petition process. “I want to know the details to qualify,” he said.
Gemperline said he is apart of the Delaware County Republican Central Committee and that elections aren’t new to him.
Michael Tighe said this is the first time he has run for any political office. He said he is running for Genoa Township trustee in November.
Trustees Karl Gebhardt and Connie Goodman terms both end in December.
“I kind of got interested in running for office in the last year,” he said. “I want to learn more about the running process and see what I need to do.”
During the workshop candidates were encouraged to take advantage of the knowledge of the BOE workers.
Ron Myers, Berkshire Township trustee, was among those. Jeremy Austin, election support specialist, walked Myers through the petition process at one of the computers set up in the back of the room.
Karla Herron, BOE director, said earlier there are close to 200 petitions that could be filed for this November’s election. She said that is why the board thought it was important to hold the workshop.
Herron said the filing deadline for the November ballot is Aug. 9. She said the board does not certify petitions until after the filing deadline so petitions only get one chance to be certified.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.