500 signatures- vs. 50

Suppose you want to run for office (not highly recommended)- the first step is to get signatures on a petition to have your name placed on the ballot.

Petitions must be notarized, and turned in to the Board of Elections by a certain date- usually long before the election or the primary, to be verified that all the signatures are valid- and by registered voters.

If you want to be County Commissioner- you need 50 signatures. If you want to be a Dayton City Commissioner- you need 500. What’s wrong with this picture? The collecting of signatures becomes a burden- unless you have a political party backing you.

I’ve filed petitions 6x. I collected the first two- without having lists of registered voters to check before going to each door- and got on the ballot with barely over 500 signatures. The next election, I did the same thing- and got rejected. The difference- was in who was running the board of elections.

So the next time, I took a list- and came up 3 short. Since I circulated each petition myself- and checked names myself- I didn’t think I was really 3 short- but the appeal process was too much work and time.  So, I let it go.

The next two times, I didn’t fail- I was on the ballot, but didn’t win. Of course, it was only in the last election that I actually accepted donations. The votes came in at a dollar a vote- Dean Lovelace raised $12,000, Bootsie Neal raised $10,000 and I raised $6,000 and that was the same as the vote totals.

But, back to the signature gathering. One of the rules is- you can’t circulate the petitions on government property- yet you could follow the path through City Hall on then Mayor, Clay Dixon’s petition. Was there a problem? Yes- was it dealt with? Of course not.

Mark Newberry and Loaena Kelly didn’t make it on the ballot again. And the Republicans didn’t run anyone. So, we have a democracy- with an election- but no choices. It’s Dean Lovelace and Matt Joseph- again.

Quite frankly- Matt Joseph hasn’t done anything except draw a paycheck for 3 years. Lovelace has noble intentions- but fights the battles at the wrong level. Both his living wage and predatory lending legislation belong at the State level- not at the City level.

My biggest problem with whole petition process in Dayton is that these are supposed to be non-partisan elections, with no mention of party affiliation on the ballot- yet the City subcontracts the elections to the Board of Elections- which is a very partisan organization made up of Dems and Republicans. A clear violation of the intention of the City Charter.

It’s time to either take the process back in-house, at great expense, or relax the petition requirements to match what is required for every other office. Considering the money it now costs to run for office- it’s enough of a hurdle to cross. What are our Commissioners afraid of? Challengers?

Change the requirements now.

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