NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - More than 170 candidates have filed petitions to be on the November ballot in Tuscarawas County. Yet nobody has filed to run in more than a dozen local races, including village mayor in Barnhill and Stone Creek, and several area council seats.
Meanwhile, the races for mayor in Dover, New Philadelphia, and Uhrichsville have only one candidate each. More than 50 other races across the county are also unopposed. Board Of Elections Director Gail Garbrandt, who chairs the Tuscarawas County Democratic Party, says she believes people are hesitant to run for public office.
“This is only my personal opinion but I know that it’s getting harder and harder to recruit people for public office because of all of the reporting requirements, and then as well as knowing your life is an open book once you file as a candidate for public office,” she says.
Garbrandt says there is still an opportunity for people to get on the November 5th ballot as write-in candidates. The deadline for that is August 26 at 4 p.m.
“As long as they have not filed in a non-partisan race and for some reason that their petition was not certified, there was some kind of error, then they could not be a write-in candidate. But if they haven’t done anything with the Aug. 7th non-partisan deadline and petition, then they could file as a write-in,” she explains.
Many of the candidates on the ballot were determined in the spring primary, while last Wednesday was the deadline for issues and non-partisan candidates.
“There is one township trustee and the township clerk in every township in Tuscarawas County. This would also be school board members, and then the villages. The mayors of villages are non-partisan, so like the mayor of Zoar,” Garbrandt says.
Garbrandt says the board of elections will finish certifying petitions later this month before submitting them to the Secretary Of State's Office. Meanwhile, she says the voter registration deadline is October 7th. She encourages people to contact the board of elections or visit its website for election calendars, early voting hours and more information.