The sanctity of the 500 signatures is a farce

The Board of Elections stands between the people and the primary. Instead of letting the people decide who should advance to a general election, the sacred law says you must turn in 500 “valid signatures” of registered Dayton voters.

It’s the LAW. So, signatures that they can’t read- or aren’t close enough to a signature on file- get dismissed. Never mind the purpose of the process- to give the people a choice, it’s about the board of elections following the rules.

Since 2001, one third of candidates have been dismissed. The average correct number of signatures turned in: a pathetic 60%. And, even if you know you have a valid signature, that the BOE disqualifies- there is no process for amending or correcting- it’s all up to the graphologists at the BOE.

The funny thing is- the wishes of the 500 people can be absolutely ignored due to a strange clause in the charter. A group of five “nominating committee” members (who don’t even have to sign a petition they are on) gets to choose who should be on the ballot if the candidate dies or withdraws.

Yep, Jesus Christ could circulate a petition, get 500 signatures, get on the ballot- then withdraw and his nominating committee- five people- could choose to put Lucifer on the ballot and the voters could do nothing.

Note- if only two candidates had passed the hurdle- the voters won’t even be able to recall Lucifer from his ill-gotten seat, because the standard is to collect 25% of the “registered voters’ ” signatures- which is 25,000 plus 40%- or 35,000 signatures. Considering we only had 37,000 people vote in the general- and that it takes approximately one hour to collect 10 valid signatures, well, you get the picture.

This is just one more reason, the charter needs to be challenged in court, struck down as unconstitutional (the right to petition government is part of the First Amendment) and the simpler Ohio Revised Code should be applied (it has no “nominating committee” or requirement of a Notary Public signing off on the circulators’ signature).

As to the supposed reason for the 500 signature threshold- to keep “lesser qualified” candidates from the ballot- to avoid confusion- that reasoning has already been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court after being tested in California. Read about the issues of Ballot Access on Wikipedia.

The only people who benefit by not having a primary are those already in power. Those who have the power to put changes to the charter on the ballot with a mere three votes [corrected]- but haven’t.

It is for this reason- that I’m working on a lawsuit to throw out the provisions of the Dayton Charter- and put a constitutionally legal set of laws in place- those of the Ohio Revised Code.

While most of you don’t think about your constitutional rights- I do. I’ve fought the city before for your right to speak at commission meetings (and won in 5 courts) and am now doing it again.

Contributions to the legal fund would be appreciated: http://electesrati.com/index.php?option=com_civicrm&task=civicrm/contribute/transact&reset=1&id=5&widgetID=1

Or, you can just risk having Lucifer as your next commissioner.

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8 Responses

  1. David Lauri March 18, 2011 / 11:55 pm
    “Those who have the power to change the charter with a mere three votes” isn’t quite accurate. No, three commissioners cannot change the charter on their own, but they can approve putting a charter amendment on the ballot for approval by the voters.

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  2. David Esrati March 19, 2011 / 12:51 pm

    @David Lauri- corrected as you, once again, catch my grammatical failings.
    I should pay you to proof read me ;-)

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  3. Dad March 19, 2011 / 1:49 pm
    No. You do not want David Lauri to proofread you. You want him to edit you.
    I say this as a retired copy editor. Proofreaders are printers who make sure the printed result will be as written. They do not correct grammar.

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  4. James March 19, 2011 / 3:10 pm
    The Board of Elections should be a government office that encourages local candidates and advocates for them. If a City of Dayton law requiring 500 signatures is now outdated because of huge population decreases the Board of Elections should be making a case for the requirement to be lowered. The Board of Elections should have resources available to help hopeful new candidates. Unfortunately we seem to be getting just the opposite in this county.
    Our tax dollars go to an office that pays two people to co-direct an office that is run by numerous other managers over $100,000 to work a 35 hour work week but does not employ a single handwriting expert to check petition signatures. The Director and Deputy Director hire employees with unsavory criminal records and instead of firing these people the board literally does nothing to them. I was at the Board of Elections recently and heard the Director speaking and he reminded me of old Abner Orick using poor grammar as he was making $50+ an hour while scratching his hair piece the tax payers purchased for him.
    There is no way the current setup in the City of Dayton or the Board of Elections can continue if citizens are to have any reasonable faith in the process. David should get a copy of the salaries at the board from the auditor and start asking why two people are paid the same huge salary to do the same job at their board meetings on camera! We should all start asking them how much they spend on conference trips versus how much they spend helping independent candidates. We should ask them how any work place could be called professional when the Director and Deputy Director have not be forced to resign and why have they not been fired or forced to resign for what they have done already. Finally the City of Dayton just needs to update the signature requirement to reflect the current population, it should be 250 not 500. I would hope the commission might be able to get that done if a few people started putting some pressure on them.

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  5. David Esrati March 19, 2011 / 4:43 pm

    @James- at a recent meeting to try to append my petitions- so that voters who were illegally ignored, could be represented, we asked to videotape it.

    The directors had to call their attorney and the Secretary of States office- and would not allow us to video.

    Odd way of running a public office.

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  6. James March 20, 2011 / 5:53 pm
    Well on their part it was probably a good move.  If they let you film you would probably end up with evidence that could be used against them.

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  7. John March 22, 2011 / 8:50 pm
    The ORC only requires one Director and does not require a Depty Director. That would be a huge savings to the county. Want to make a cut that will make a impact, start there. The whole office is corrupt and needs to be investigated. Look at the employee’s who were recently fired. (Name redacted) is a thief and a skirt chaser who needs to go! (Name Redacted) is guilty of forging signatures. STOP THE CRIMINAL ACTIVITY!!!!!!!

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  8. Brian March 28, 2011 / 10:50 am
    I worked at the Board of Elections for five years. The corruption at this goverment office is unbeleavable. They have two top Director jobs, where only one is needed. One republician and one democrat, both are hired by the Chairman from each party. Both receive overtime and comp time. What other Director in the county gets such perks. then they travel to vaction spots such as Miami, Vegas and others for trainning that they don’t need or allready received the certifaction for attending the conferance. They are duplicating the trainning and taking family members on county paid vacations. When OT is offered to them, you will find them there  till the last employee leaves to suck up the extra cash. Now you have the compensation time they receive. They have accumulated hundreds of hours of comp time, and will receice payment for this when they retire. Abner Orick tried this stunt while the Director at the BOE, and they took the time away from him. WHY are the two top people at the BOE receiving OT and Comp time. Why are they intitled to this generous payout while the county is laying people off. Gregg Gantt is the Chairman of the BOE. Is he a fiscal conservative or is he part of the problem. Why dosent someone investigate this place? They hired a convicted rapist with out a application or back ground check? I never  had to submitt a application, and they just asked employees, some who have worked there for years, to submitt one. Who is in charge of this place? What a joke, this place is a embaressment to our elections. Many others crines were comitted during my time at the BOE, I pray someone will do the right thing and make the necessary changes there.

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