Around 30 people gathered at the courthouse square on Saturday for an hour-long protest against the Tuscarawas County Board of Elections. (Ryan Pastircak, WJER Radio)
NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - The Tuscarawas County Board of Elections is facing opposition from the public after a series of candidate petition rejections.
About 30 protesters lined the courthouse square Saturday demanding an explanation after three New Philadelphia school board hopefuls were denied candidacy due to petition errors that they claim were caused by the board. Sheila Martin says she was wrongly instructed by board employees to collect no more than 75-valid signatures when she took her petition out in June of this year.
“I actually went to them asking for additional petition sheets saying that I wanted to collect at least 100 signatures and was told emphatically that I was not allowed to submit more than 75. Somehow, the two incumbents running for re-election were able to submit well over 75,” she says.
Board of Elections Director Gail Garbrandt, who took office August 1st, says despite the allegations of misinformation from board employees, the law leaves proper petition filing in the hands of each candidate.
“Mr. Stevenson from our county prosecutor’s office did offer case law that does state that you are still responsible for your petition, and these are cases that were heard in the Ohio Supreme Court. It doesn’t matter if somebody at the board of elections told you 20 or 25 or your neighbor or your friend who ran last year,” she says.
Martin says challenging the board in court would be too expensive, so they decided to protest instead.