Five people will run as write-in candidates in the Nov. 7 election for Pickerington school board after three prospective candidates were ruled ineligible to run for the office.
Fairfield County Board of Elections Director Jane Hanley confirmed Aug. 23 that only two of five people who filed petitions to be on the Nov. 7 ballot as candidates for Pickerington school board were certified to appear on the ballot.
Incumbent board members Vanessa Niekamp and Lori Sanders have been certified by the board of elections to appear on the ballot as candidates for three board seats.
However, fellow incumbent Cathy Olshefski and would-be challengers Jaclyn Rohaly and Pryestt Strickland were eliminated as candidates for failing to follow state filing rules.
Subsequently, five people filed by the 4 p.m. deadline Aug. 28 to run for the office as write-in candidates.
They are: Nicholas James Derksen, David Horton, Mark Kenney, Robert Clayton Lopez and Elizabeth Gayle Saunders.
The write-in candidates will not appear on the Nov. 7 ballot. However, voters can cast ballots for them by writing in -- or typing if a ballot is cast via an electronic voting machine.
Five blank spaces will be provided on the ballot in the section for Pickerington Local School District Board of Education.
Fairfield County Board of Elections Deputy Director Brett Riffle said the three cannot appeal the board's ruling and won't be permitted to run for the school board Nov. 7.
According to Hanley, 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, which are 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 began collecting signatures for her re-election bid.
Hanley said state law requires candidates must sign their statement of candidacy before they collect any signatures.
"It was my mistake," Olshefski said. "It was a silly mistake. I had the filing deadline on my brain. This is the third time I've filed and I should have known better."
Olshefski, who in November 2013 won a second term on the school board by defeating former board member Lopez by four votes, said she's not sure if she'll seek the office again when the next school board election is held in 2019.
"I'm just going to sit back and see what opportunities present themselves," she said. "I did enjoy my eight years on the board and I do enjoy service to the public."
Rohaly was disqualified because she provided a former residential address on one of her statement of candidacy forms.
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 only signed one of them, Hanley said.
Five school district residents serve on the school board. The terms of incumbents Donald Keith Cristoff Jr. and Michelle Waterhouse do not expire until Dec. 31, 2019.