PIQUA — The city and Positively Promoting Piqua held a workshop Wednesday afternoon with a small group of residents on how to navigate the local election process effectively.
Mayor Kazy Hinds opened the workshop, saying that the initiative was meant to try and make it easier for potential candidates for the Piqua City Commission to get over that first hurdle of getting their names on the ballot.
“I know that when I went through this a couple years ago, it’s kind of like figuring out as you go,” Hinds said.
The workshop was a walk-through of the process of making sure one is eligible to run and filling out the petitions to be placed on the ballot. For the upcoming November general election, commission seats for Ward 3 and Ward 4 will be on the ballot. Commissioner Joe Wilson of Ward 3 is expected to run for re-election, but commissioner Judy Terry of Ward 4 announced at previous commission meetings that she does not intend to run again.
The city of Piqua is divided into five wards equally by population, but Hinds noted that it can be confusing. An attendee at the meeting also noted that neighbors across the street from her home were not in the same ward as her, so candidates have to be careful when going door-to-door to get petitions signed. Candidates are able to receive a list of residents in their ward who voted in the last election from the Miami County Board of Elections, either by visiting their website or office at the Miami County Courthouse.
“It’s a good idea to get that list ahead of time,” attorney Mike Gutmann said.
Gutmann went over who is eligible to run for commissioner of their ward. Candidates must have resided within their ward for at least one year preceding the election and must be a registered voter. They also must file a petition with the signatures of at least 50 residents from their ward, not exceeding 100 signatures, with the board of elections.
“Petitions must be completely and properly filled out,” Gutmann said.
The signatures on the petition must also be signed in cursive, not printed. Residents can also only sign one candidate’s petition. It will not be valid if a resident’s signature appears a second time on another candidate’s petition. The entire petition must also be filled out, including dates, names, and signatures. Whoever circulates the petition must also sign the petition once it is complete, which must be witnessed by a notary.
The petitions for the Piqua City Commission must also be filed 75 days prior to the election. Gutmann provided the following timeline as an example for the upcoming election:
• Election day: Nov. 7
• Filing deadline: Aug. 23
• To be safe, file by: Aug. 5
Gutmann also provided the following tips:
• Neatly print or type in the top portion of the petition
• Have the persons signing the petition sign legibly or print name under the signature (in the same box)
• Obtain 75 to 100 signatures in one’s ward
Common errors for petitions also include:
• The signer is not a registered voter
• The signer is not registered in the same ward as the candidate
• The signature is not legible and the board of elections cannot verify it
• The signer has already signed another petition for another candidate
• The signer is not registered at the address he or she lists on the petition
Gutmann advised the attendees to have someone — such as a former or sitting commissioner or someone with a legal background — look over their petitions before submitting them to the board of elections office. There is also a cost to file a petition with the board of elections, which has previously been $50. A commissioner advised that the board’s office also does not take credit cards.
From that point, the candidates will be elected at-large by all of the registered voters in Piqua even though the only people who can sign their petitions are people from their ward.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336