Anything to keep the incumbents in office

I knew I was cutting it close by deciding to run after my mother died. But, a bunch of people volunteered to circulate petitions and help me out.

For many, it was an eye opener. It’s not as easy as you think to get people to properly fill out a Dayton City Commission petition- especially since a “signature” is a very personal thing. I’ve gotten pretty good at this- spelling out that you have to “sign your name the way you do when you go to vote” and then- please “print” it next to it. Why do I have to do that? Because the petition is a badly designed and should have been revised long ago.

Except that it does exactly what the people in power want it to do- keep people off the ballot.

I had expected to turn in over 600 last Friday- when I heard from a friend that he had lost the petitions containing 43 signatures.

Another, who knew better- left a half dozen at home on Friday- not, notarized. Another who promised “a full sheet” left me 2. Another showed up with 5 more- just after I ran to the BOE so as not to get locked out at 4pm.

The agenda that was emailed to me by the BOE- wasn’t really an agenda- it didn’t say anything about what was coming- I had to read it in the Dayton Daily news- who loves to mock me:

Five people submitted petitions to run for the Dayton City Commission by the Friday deadline, but one hopeful, David Esrati, is not expected to make the ballot, county elections officials said.

“His petitions don’t meet the threshold,” said Montgomery County Board of Elections Director Jan Kelly. “He had 489 signatures — he needed 500.”

Esrati, who has unsuccessfully run for a city commission seat a handful of times, submitted his petitions on Friday afternoon, shortly before the deadline, according to elections officials.

Board staff say they reviewed Esrati’s petitions on Monday, and though he had 563 signatures, he did not have the 500 valid signatures he needed to be certified to run in the Dayton City Commission races.

Signatures, addresses and other information have to match board of elections’ records. Board staff today will recommend the three-person Montgomery County Board of Elections not certify Esrati’s petitions.

Source: Dayton City Commission: 5 want to run for office

A few points of contention- the petition asks for “Name” not “Signature”- and also has “Ward” and “Precinct” on it. So- what is mandatory and what is arbitrary? Good question. And, btw, while every other form to run for office exists online as a printable PDF, the City of Dayton, doesn’t provide it and neither does the Board Of Elections. The only way the petition appears is in the charter document- unformatted. #FAIL.

In fact, if you used the format approved in the charter- the date is only good up to the year 1999.

Form of Petition Paper

We, the undersigned, hereby present ____________ whose residence is ____________ , Dayton, Ohio, as a candidate for nomination to the office of ____________ to be voted upon at the ____________ election, to be held on the ____________ day of ____________ , 19 ____________ , and we individually certify that we have signed no other Mayor’s petition and no petition for Commissioner greater in number than the number of Commissioners to be chosen at the next ____________ municipal election. We name as the nominating committee the five registered electors of the City of Dayton whose names and addresses appear below who shall have authority, as provided by the Charter to the City of Dayton, to nominate a candidate to replace the person named herein in the event that such person dies or withdraws his candidacy….

Montgomery County,
State of Ohio, ss:____________ , being duly sworn, deposes and says that he is the circulator of the foregoing petition paper containing ____________ signatures, and that the signatures appended thereto were made in his presence and are the signatures of the persons whose names they purport to be.

(Signed) _____

Subscribed and sworn to before me this ____________ day of ____________ , 19 ____________

They did revise some sections of the charter pertaining to elections and rotation of names on the ballot as recently as  Ord. 31330-14, passed August 13, 2014 where they chose to ignore the deficiencies in the ballot.

And while they will say they don’t have to abide by State election law by allowing me to contest the printed signatures- and resubmit affidavits to the effect that the signatures were in fact good, they do use state law when it’s convenient: “A tie between two or more candidates for the office of Mayor or Commissioner shall be decided by lot under the direction of the election authorities, as provided by general election laws of the State of Ohio.”

There is also this clause: “All elections shall be conducted and the results canvassed and announced by the election authorities prescribed by general election laws, and, except as otherwise provided herein, the general election laws shall control in all such elections. “

This entire section has been ignored in the past. Although it may just apply to recall elections.

Petition papers shall be procured only from the Clerk of the Commission, who shall keep a sufficient number of such blank petitions on file for distribution as herein provided. Prior to the issuance of such petition papers an affidavit shall be made by one or more qualified electors and filed with the Clerk of the Commission, stating the name and office of the officer or officers sought to be removed. The Clerk of the Commission, upon issuing any such petition papers to an elector, shall enter in a record, to be kept in his office, the name of the elector to whom issued, the date of such issuance, and the number of papers issued, and shall certify on such papers the name of the elector to who issued and the date issued. No petition papers so issued shall be accepted as part of the petition unless it bears such certificate of the Clerk of the Commission and unless it be filed as provided herein.

If my friend Robbie who is blind wanted to run, he couldn’t find the petition, or instructions- because it doesn’t exist in an ADA compliant format. #FAIL.

Here is the ADA requirements for communications:

Issue: Effective Communication

Common Problem:

City governments often fail to provide qualified interpreters or assistive listening devices for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at public events or meetings. In addition, city governments often fail to provide materials in alternate formats (Braille, large print, or audio cassettes) to individuals who are blind or have low vision.


Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing are unable to participate in government- sponsored events or public meetings and unable to benefit from city programs and services when they are not provided with appropriate auxiliary aids and services. Likewise, people who are blind or have low vision are unable to benefit from city government services when printed materials are the only means of communication available.


Title II requires that city governments ensure that communications with individuals with disabilities are as effective as communications with others. Thus, city governments must provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services for people with disabilities (e.g., qualified interpreters, notetakers, computer-aided transcription services, assistive listening systems, written materials, audio recordings, computer disks, large print, and Brailled materials) to ensure that individuals with disabilities will be able to participate in the range of city services and programs. City governments must give primary consideration to the type of auxiliary aid or service that an individual with a disability requests. The final decision is the government’s.

Source: The ADA and City Governments: Common Problems

I’ve had totally different experiences filing petitions in the past. The first time when I ran for Mayor against Clay Dixon I turned in 503 and got on the ballot. The next election, the special to fill Mark Henry’s seat- I filed 509. Got on the ballot. That was when Abner Orick was chief of the BOE. The next time- I was told almost half were bad. It was a while before anyone told me that I could get walking lists- and only approach voters at their homes. One time I was told I was 3 short, and I didn’t fight it.

The most amazing run for commission- was when Joe Lutz was able to collect over 500 good signatures in 48 hours- without using voter lists or any help. Me thinks the people who aren’t a threat get on easy. Those of us who are a threat- get dinged

This time, I have a precedent.

Petition certifiedThe Miami County Board of Elections certified an incumbent Troy City Council member’s petitions for re-election Tuesday, Feb. 26, after hearing more information about signatures obtained for the petitions.

The board earlier this month voted to reject 3rd Ward Councilman John Schweser’s petitions after finding the petitions did not have enough valid signatures. The board was told Schweser needed 25 valid signatures to be on the ballot, but did not have enough after several people printed their names instead of their signatures on petitions.

Troy lawyer Jose Lopez told the board Schweser had affidavits from those who printed their names stating that they were the ones who had put their names on the petition. Schweser, a Republican, is running unchallenged for re-election.

Source: Miami – Dayton Daily News

Lopez has served on the BOE and I’ve reached out to him. He’s told me there is a provision in the Ohio Revised Code to be able to contest and verify signatures. I’ll have that information tomorrow morning.

I plan on contesting the signature disqualifications. I’m tired of the partisan BOE ignoring the will of 74 voters- who they are either calling liars, or incompetent.

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