Two residents who planned to run for seats on Pickerington City Council in the Nov. 5 general election have been ruled off the ballot after failing to collect the required number of valid signatures from registered voters.

Fairfield County Board of Elections Deputy Director Brett Riffle said Aug. 15 that two of the six candidates who filed to run for Pickerington City Council by the Aug. 8 deadline have been deemed ineligible.

Jay JohnSamuel and Yolanda Owens both failed to file petitions with the minimum required number of valid signatures from registered city of Pickerington voters, Riffle said.

"(Owens) did not get the requisite number of signatures," Riffle said. "She needed 50, and she got 46 that are valid.

"(JohnSamuel) didn't get the requisite number of signatures, either. He needed 50, as well, and he only got 45 valid signatures."

Although JohnSamuel and Owens were disqualified, the six others who filed to run for Pickerington City Council this fall have been certified to appear on the ballot by the Fairfield County Board of Elections.

Incumbent Councilwoman Crystal Hicks and challengers Nicholas Derksen, Kevin Kemper, William Reed and Brian Wisniewski are running three seats on council.

In addition to Hicks' current seat, the candidates will vie for seats held by Mike Sabatino and Jerry Dailey who both decided not to seek re-election.

Sabatino said he won't run this fall because of a medical issue he needs to address. Dailey did not respond to requests for comment about why he decided not to run in November.

Riffle said all of the other candidates who filed by Aug. 8 to appear as candidates in the Nov. 5 election met the board of elections' requirements and have been certified.

Barring write-in candidates, Mayor Lee Gray will run unopposed for re-election, as will Violet Township Trustee Darrin Monhollen.

Five candidates will appear on the ballot for two seats on Pickerington School Board.

Incumbent Keith Kristoff will be challenged by Christian Johnson, Cathy Olshefski, Tezlyn Reardon and Barry Sutherland, all of whom have been certified to run.

Incumbent Michelle Waterhouse chose not to run, citing increased responsibilities at her private-sector job as one of her reasons for not seeking re-election.

Jennifer Clemens, Daniel Griscom, Vanessa Niekamp and Peggy Portier were certified as candidates for Violet Township fiscal officer. They'll be running for the post currently held by Brian Sauer, who said he chose not to run for re-election so he could to spend more time with his family.

Additional hopefuls for the Nov. 5 election could come forward as write-in candidates if they file a form required by the board of elections by Aug. 26.

Write-in candidates aren't required to collect a set number of valid signatures from registered local voters. They must, however, file the candidate form and pay $45, the same fee that was required for candidates who appear on the ballot.

Riffle said no one had filed as a write-in candidate as of Aug. 15.

He added that JohnSamuel and Owens cannot run for Pickerington City Council as write-in candidates.

"If you've already filed, that's it," Riffle said. "There's no recourse" for filing and not being certified.

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