Wanted: Candidates for public office in Marion County

·4 min read
In this Marion Star photo from 2019, Marion County Board of Elections Director Cindy Price, standing left, talks to local residents attending a candidate information session. She and Deputy Director Brian Blair provided information about filing candidate petitions, campaign finance, and other topics.  The Board of Elections offered its most recent session on Jan. 19, 2022, and will offer another session in July 2022.
In this Marion Star photo from 2019, Marion County Board of Elections Director Cindy Price, standing left, talks to local residents attending a candidate information session. She and Deputy Director Brian Blair provided information about filing candidate petitions, campaign finance, and other topics. The Board of Elections offered its most recent session on Jan. 19, 2022, and will offer another session in July 2022.

In an effort to provide training and education for those interested in running for public office and to encourage more people to seek office, the Marion County Board of Elections has been offering candidate information sessions for the past several years. These sessions are also open to campaign treasurers.

"We want to encourage people to run for office and we'd like to see more people participate in the process," Board of Elections Director Cindy Price said.

Per Board of Elections records, very few candidates filed to run for village council seats in the 2021 general election in Marion County. There was only one candidate for each of the village council races in Caledonia, Green Camp, and Waldo, respectively, which each had four seats available. Only two people ran for the four available seats on both the Morral and New Bloomington village councils. No one filed petitions to run for LaRue Village Council last fall.

Eleven of the 15 township trustee races in 2021 were either uncontested or didn't have enough candidates to fill the number of seats available.

Only two of the six races for seats on local boards of education in Marion County were contested. Three people ran for the two available seats on the Marion City Schools Board of Education and four candidates were involved in the race for two available seats on the Ridgedale Local Schools Board of Education.

In the City of Marion, only one city council race was uncontested. That was in the 3rd Ward where incumbent Jason Schaber ran without opposition. City Council President Todd Schneider was also unopposed in his reelection bid.

The most recent candidate information session was held on Jan. 19 and the next session is scheduled for July, according to Price. She and Deputy Director Brian Blair conducted the two-hour session.

Four people attended the candidate information session on Jan. 19, one of whom has filed a petition to seek public office during the 2022 election cycle. Another participant is the treasurer for a candidate who recently ran for office.

Each participant in the Jan. 19 candidate information session was given a packet that included a copy of the 2022 Ohio Candidate Requirement Guide, the 2022 Ohio Campaign Finance Reporting Calendar, a copy of the Ohio Campaign Finance Report, and a copy of the Ohio Ethics Commission's Financial Disclosure Statement.

Information about how to access the Secretary of State and Ohio Elections Commission websites was also provided. Another handout included in the packet provided information about candidate petition pre-checks.

Price and Blair said one of the biggest issues potential candidates face is how properly fill out petitions that must be filed in order to run for public office. The Secretary of State's office publishes a Candidate Requirement Guide for each election cycle that contains information and guidelines for those seeking elected offices.

Blair said the Board of Elections also provides information for candidates to guide them through the filing process.

"We actually give out a checklist for candidates," Blair said. "When you pick up your petition, you're handed a guideline sheet telling you how much it costs to file, the date you're required to file by, and we highlight how many valid signatures you have to have. On the back of that sheet is a checklist. We highly recommend that you use the checklist because if you follow it, there's about a 95% chance that your petition will (be approved by the Board of Elections). I won't say it's 100% because there's always the chance that some mistakes could be made when filling them out."

Blair said each person who has requested a petition for candidacy has been given a copy of the 2022 Ohio Candidate Requirement Guide.

The deadline for candidates to file petitions to run for office is Wednesday, Feb. 2. The 4-member Board of Elections (Democrats Brandi Downs and Chris Smith, Republicans Todd Anderson and Lynn Zucker) will meet to certify petitions at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9 in the Prospect Room at the Marion County Building, 222 W. Center St. in Marion.

Price strongly urged all candidates who have filed petitions to attend the certification meeting.

"It's always a good idea to be a part of that process," Price said. "If there's a question that comes up about a candidate's petition, if they attend the certification meeting, they can defend something before the board if they needed to. The board will vote on each petition and make the final decision on all petitions on Feb. 9."

For information about elections, go to the Marion County Board of Elections website at www.boe.ohio.gov/marion/, or the Ohio Secretary of State's website at www.sos.state.oh.us/. The Ohio Elections Commission website is elc.ohio.gov/home.

The Marion County Board of Elections office is located in the Marion County Building at 222 W. Center St., Marion. The telephone number is 740-223-4090. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

This article originally appeared on Marion Star: Wanted: Candidates for public office in Marion County