The race for the Westerville Board of Education might be uncontested now that one candidate’s petition has been disqualified.
The Franklin County Board of Elections did not certify the petition of challenger Vashitta Johnson.
The terms of incumbent Gerrie Cotter and Vaughn E. Bell, who was appointed in November 2018, expire at the end of this year.
Cotter isn’t running for re-election, leaving two available seats.
Bell’s petition has been certified, as has challenger Jennifer Aultman.
Johnson said she plans to appeal the elections board’s decision.
“Unfortunately, today I learned that I did not meet the signature requirement to be on the November ballot,” she said on social media Aug. 16. “While this is a disappointment, I will not be discouraged. This experience has been incredibly enlightening.”
Whether it involves getting to know people in the district or talking to those involved in the schools, Johnson said, she has learned an immense amount.
“I appreciate the unwavering support and look forward to continue my effort in shaping a brighter future for our children,” she said. “This is only just the beginning.”
Only 140 of 216 signatures submitted were found to be valid, according to the board of elections.
Candidates running for the school board seats need at least 150 valid signatures.
Elections board spokesman Aaron Sellers said the elections board’s next meeting is scheduled Sept. 9.
“If reconsideration is going to happen, it will need to be at that meeting,” Sellers said. “Anything after that, we run into printing of the ballot issues.”
Any time a candidate doesn’t meet the requirement of valid signatures, Sellers said, additional board employees will look at the petitions to make sure something wasn’t missed.
“Many of the signatures are invalidated because the person that signed the petition is not registered or does not live at the address they provided,” he said. “When that happens, there is no remedy.”
If a candidate asks the board to reconsider, it could, as has been done in the past, get affidavits from the petition signer to attest under oath that it was the petitioner’s signature.
“This happens from time to time when candidates fall slightly short on the number of required signatures needed,” Sellers said. “The board then takes that into consideration and will vote on the reconsideration.”
All candidates and issues must be certified by the elections board by Aug. 27.
Military and overseas voting begins Sept. 20; early in-person and absentee voting for others begins Oct. 8.