The Delaware County Board of Elections certified 103 petitions of candidacy Tuesday for the Nov. 8 general election.
Candidates had until Aug. 9 to submit their petitions. Since the deadline, the board office has been busy verifying each of the petition’s validity.
“Two staff members reviewed each one of the petitions that were filed,” said Director Karla Herron. “One Democrat and one Republican each, then it went to a manager’s review. Stephanie (Clase, BOE manager), sat down with Anthony (Saadey, BOE deputy director,) and I to review each one.”
Issues related to a petition not being certified include the lack of valid signatures and whether a petition was filled out completely.
Board members take into account every situation before ruling on the certification of a petition, including leaving a blank empty for the county of residence.
“I looked back in the minutes, in the past you’ve felt that was something that could not be misleading,” Herron told the board. “You approved the minutes.”
However, on the other side of the issue, “If there’s a blank it needs to be filled in,” said Steve Cuckler, board member.
Herron made quick comment to the board about candidates failing to fill in blanks.
“If they had used our candidate module it would have filled in the information for them,” she said.
In the case of one candidate, he had changed his address without updating the information with the Board of Elections. Herron said when the discrepancy was noticed, the staff had to look up new building permits and spoke with the County Auditor’s Office. It was discovered that the candidate had moved, but still lived in the district in which he was seeking election.
Looking back to see if the board had faced a similar situation in the past, Herron found a case where there was a tie between the members of the board and Secretary of State Jon Husted had to break the tie.
If the precedent hadn’t been set by the Secretary of State, the candidate’s petition might not have been certified by the board. The petition was certified.
Herron said that once petitions are reviewed by the staff, candidates are allowed to inquire if their petition was to be recommended for certification. If a petition is not going to be recommended, candidates may withdraw and refile by the deadline or file to be a write-in candidate. The board approved four candidates’ petitions to withdraw from the election.
Herron said candidates can ask about the status of their petition, but staff are not allowed to freely volunteer information to candidates.
The candidates who withdrew had either refiled by the deadline or filed as write-in candidates for the election.
Board Chairman Ed Helvey noticed that many of the seats will go unchallenged due to the lack of candidates filing. Board members discussed the oddity, coming to the conclusion the seats would be filled by the members of the board or by the Delaware County Probate Judge.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.