Three of five prospective candidates for the Pickerington Board of Education intending to run for three seats in the Nov. 7 general election have been declared ineligible to run for the office.

Fairfield County Board of Elections director Jane Hanley on Wednesday, Aug. 23, confirmed that only two of the five who had filed petitions to run as board candidates were certified for the fall ballot.

Incumbent board members Vanessa Niekamp and Lori Sanders both have been certified to run for re-election.

However, fellow incumbent Cathy Olshefski and would-be challengers Jaclyn Rohaly and Pryestt Strickland were eliminated as candidates because they did not follow state filing laws.

Hanley said Olshefski, who is serving the final year of her second term on the board, turned in a “statement of candidacy” and signatures from registered voters living in the school district, as required to become an official candidate.

However, Olshefski reportedly signed and dated her statement of candidacy “Aug. 8, 2017,” which was after the July 15 date her filings indicated she had begun to collect signatures for her re-election bid.

Hanley said state law requires that candidates sign their statement of candidacy before they collect any signatures.

Rohaly was disqualified because she provided a former residential address on her statement of candidacy.

Although she also included her current address on a separate filing form, Hanley said, the board of elections had to rule Rohaly ineligible to run.

Additionally, Strickland was found to have turned in three partial petitions, but he signed only one of them, Hanley said.

Because of the apparent filing issues and state laws, Olshefski, Rohaly and Strickland won’t be permitted to run as write-in candidates either, Hanley said.

At least on write-in candidate would have to come forward by the 4 p.m. deadline Aug. 28 in order to yield an election that would fill all three school board seats up for election on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Hanley said prospective write-in candidates must complete a form supplied by the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office and pay a filing fee to become candidates.

The name of any certified write-in candidate would not appear on the ballot, but voters could write their names in – or type them in if voting at an electronic machine – to cast a vote for that candidate.

For more on this story, read the Aug. 31 edition of ThisWeek.

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