Mary Alice Reporting – Candidates looking to run for spots on a Board of Education says a communication error was made and they want the Election Board to be held accountable.

Four petitioners filed to run on the November ballot and claim that they received misinformation from the Tuscarawas County Board of Elections over how many valid signatures were needed to be approved, causing their petitions to be rejected.

During a protest Saturday at the Courthouse, Sheila Martin believes that she, along with the other candidates, were robbed of their chances to run for the school board due to the incompetency of the elections staff.

“The Board of Elections failed to communicate that, for the first time, they were using a statistic for the school district population of over 22,000, which changed the number of required of signatures to 75. They instructed candidates to acquire 25 signatures.”

Another candidate, Todd MacMath, noted that the Elections Board should be held accountable for providing misguided and inaccurate information.

Meanwhile, current New Phila School Board President and valid candidate, Chris Weaver, emphasizes that the school board has no affiliation or say about the requirements for election ballots or petitions.

Weaver has run for the position several times and was told in 2015, that he needed 25 or more signatures; however, before submission, another elections personnel indicated that 75 were needed. Weaver says, for the 2019 election, he kept the larger number of required signatures in mind.

Tuscarawas Elections Director Gail Garbrandt explains that any information by election employees is not valid since petitions are legal documents, and candidates must consult a legal professional,

“They receive a candidate guide that is published every year published by the Ohio Secretary of State. That guide is divided into sections depending on what office they are running for and it tells them what to do. That guide, on page 21, talks about population limits as they relate to number of signatures needed.”

The instructions for each position up for election are also available on the Ohio Secretary of States website.

Copyright WTUZ Radio Inc., 2019