Piqua facing lack of candidates

MIAMI COUNTY — There are two commission seats opening up on the Piqua City Commission, but Piqua residents will not have anyone to vote for come November.

Commission seats for Ward 3 and Ward 4 will be on the ballot on Nov. 7. Commissioner Judy Terry of Ward 4 previously announced that she was not intending to run for re-election, and Ward 3 Commissioner Joe Wilson’s petition to be placed on the November ballot was rejected. The Miami County Board of Elections rejected Wilson’s petition during their meeting on Friday due to Wilson leaving the circulator’s statement on the petition blank. The Piqua City Charter also requires that ballot petitions be notarized, and Wilson’s petition was not notarized.

Once the terms for Terry and Wilson have expired after this year, the Piqua City Commission will have to appoint commissioners to those seats if no one runs as a write-in option on the November ballot.

Voters in the Piqua school district will still be able to re-elect one member of the Piqua Board of Education. Board member Andy Hite’s petition to be placed on the ballot was approved, but board member Steve Greggerson’s petition was rejected due to leaving the nominating and circulator statements blank on the petition.

The Miami County Board of Elections also almost narrowly rejected two petitions for candidates running for Tipp City Council before Joe Gibson, the current president of Tipp City Council, pointed out that the city charter for Tipp City does not require as many signatures on ballot petitions as the board of elections thought. The city charter for Tipp City only requires 25 valid signatures on ballot petitions for candidates running for Tipp City Council, and the board of elections assumed it was 50 signatures.

“It clearly says 25,” board member Rob Long said after examining the city charter.

Director Bev Kendall said that the board’s office was not aware of the charter requirement, explaining that they assumed it was 50 signatures when Tipp City went to state-prescribed petitions instead of using their own ballot petitions.

After the board confirmed what Gibson said, the board approved the petitions for Ryan M. August and Katelyn D. Berbach to placed on the ballot as candidates for Tipp City Council. The board also approved petitions from Frank Scenna and Joe Gibson to run for Tipp City Council.

Gibson noted that he could have run unopposed.

The board went on to reject another 18 ballot petitions for reasons including not having enough valid signatures, blank circulator statements, and a candidacy statement signed after signatures were collected. The number of rejected petitions is down from when the board rejected over 30 ballot petitions for the November 2015 election.

During their meeting, the board discussed providing a checklist to candidates when they pick up their petitions from the board’s office.

“I think that, after reviewing these petitions, it was evident we need to hand candidates all the information, so at least I know in good conscience they had it all in their hands and if they did not follow it, that’s on them,” board member Audrey Gillespie said.

Deputy Director Luke Scott said a checklist was provided to candidates when they turned in their petitions this year, although Chairman Dave Fisher said he received word from one candidate who did not receive this checklist. Board member Ryan King advised Kendall and Scott on speaking with office staff to make sure these practices are consistent.

“I just want to make sure we’re being fair,” King said.

Two open commission seats, no one on ballot

By Sam Wildow


Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@dailycall.com or (937) 451-3336