No primary: time to revamp the charter

As this is published, the Montgomery County Board of Elections is meeting to review the results of the petition process.

Sources have told me that only Gary Leitzell will be allowed on the ballot to challenge incumbent Mayor Rhine McLin. In the Commission race, Nan Whaley and Joey Williams will only face one challenger, me, David Esrati.

Out of all the people filing, only 2 challengers met the task. Not all the people listed here previously turned in petitions.

Of those who did, most failed to get enough “valid signatures.” One candidate had “nominating committee” members who didn’t live in the city.

This says only one thing: the process needs some review and changes.

  1. The petitions should be available as a PDF that can be filled out on a computer. We’re not in the typewriter age anymore. The “Military flip” style of printing makes it difficult to fill out on a computer- since data can’t be entered upside down.
  2. The language on the petition needs to meet the law: the line “this petition, if found insufficient, shall be returned to” does not comply with the law.
  3. The petition should only ask for information required for filing. Asking for Ward, Precinct or Date of Signing isn’t required by the Charter (I’m not sure about the address being required- however it would be hard to verify signatures without it).
  4. The Board of Elections is actually looking for “Signatures”- yet the petition asks for “Name.” There is a difference in their eyes. If the charter truly calls for a signature- the petition should ask for both.
  5. The notary process is an added step that adds zero credibility to the process. It needs to be removed.
  6. Lastly, there should be a sample petition and instructions available to all. Lack of both, calls into question the legitimacy of this law.

The question of 500 signatures should also be examined. Only 50 are needed to run for U.S. Congress. The original requirement was 1,200 until the early ’80’s, according to former city official, Paul Woodie. Although I think the requirement is burdensome, I think that this is a better filtering function than most. I would only say that if this is going to be the requirement, I would not allow anyone but the candidates themselves to collect signatures, and force it to be door-to-door. That way, the incumbents can freeze their butts off in February as well.

Lastly, the whole process of electing the Mayor separately from the other two seats needs to be examined. It’s become a costly sideshow, for a position that has no more power than that of the rest of the commission. I propose the person with the most votes sitting on the commission, wins the seat. From all five seats. That way, the jockeying stops- and hopefully, we have the best 5 people available on the commission.

In evaluating whom you want on your commission- ask these questions of each of the other candidates. It’s a pretty good start to changing business as usual in the City of Dayton.

I’ll have the official BOE reports later. In the meantime, the BOE, not the People, has spoken- there will be no primary.

The system has done its best to keep the status quo.

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