Franklin County Board of Elections
Trustee, school board member fail candidacy certification
The race for Jefferson Township board of trustees won't be a race, after all.
Oh, and strike a candidate from the race for the Gahanna-Jefferson Board of Education.
The Franklin County Board of Elections on Monday, Aug. 19, announced that Jefferson Township incumbent Mat Flanagan and Gahanna-Jefferson school board appointee Dewitt Harrell were not certified as candidates because of incomplete petitions.
Ben Piscitelli, spokesman for the elections board, said Flanagan needed 25 valid signatures. He submitted three petitions with a total of 54 signatures, Piscitelli said, but he didn't sign the statement on the back to attest someone had circulated the petition, witnessed, signed and dated it.
"That's a fatal flaw," Piscitelli said. "If the statement isn't signed, none of the signatures are counted. That's the first thing we check. There's no way to appeal something like that."
Harrell failed to sign the statement of candidacy on the front of two petitions, so the signatures on those petitions also didn't count.
"Ironically, he remembered to sign on four others," Piscitelli said. "That left him short. We couldn't check 25 (signatures)."
Harrell needed 75 valid signatures, and he received only 69.
Piscitelli said candidates short on valid signatures have been sent letters. They have until 4 p.m. Monday to request an appeal.
In Flanagan's and Harrell's cases, Piscitelli said, they have no recourse.
"It happens," he said. "It's sad when it does. A lot of work goes into circulating petitions. On average, it takes 25 minutes to get a valid signature. A lot of work goes into it. Sometimes accomplished people just make a simple mistake."
Flanagan is a lifelong resident of Jefferson Township. In the 1970s, he assumed responsibility for his parents' business, Flanagan's Pub. He became owner after they retired.
He first ran for office in 1985.
Flanagan's and Donna Finn's seats expire at the end of the year.
Finn isn't seeking re-election.
Claire Yoder, 3200 Mann Road, Blacklick, and Rich Courter, 1422 N. Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road, Blacklick, have been certified as candidates to fill those seats.
On the Gahanna-Jefferson school board, Harrell was appointed Jan. 10 to fill the seat that was vacated by Heather Bishoff, who resigned Dec. 30, 2012, after winning her bid to the Ohio House of Representatives' 20th District seat.
Harrell, chief financial officer for the Columbus Metropolitan Library, was selected from a pool of 23 candidates.
He was seeking a four-year term on the board instead of the unexpired term of Bishoff.
Without Harrell as a candidate, only four candidates are seeking three seats. They are incumbent Jill Schuler and newcomers Matthew Campbell, Jason Phillips and Beryl Piccolantonio.
Current board members Scott Mounts and Yoder aren't seeking re-election.
Two candidates are vying for Bishoff's unexpired seat: Lew Griffin and Charles Steele.
The unexpired term ends Dec. 31, 2015.