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CAMPBELL Council candidate is off ballot



Published: Mon, July 23, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The former candidate said a board of elections employee told him there were no problems with the petitions.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The Mahoning County Board of Elections threw out the nominating petitions of a Campbell city council candidate today because he failed to date his statement-of-candidacy form.

The board unanimously voted to remove Steve Sferra of Goretti Drive as a candidate for the 1st Ward seat. Failing to date a statement-of-candidacy form is grounds for automatic disqualification for a candidate, said Michael V. Sciortino, elections chairman.

Reaction: Reached at his home today, Sferra said he was shocked to hear that he has been kicked off the ballot.

"I asked someone from the board of elections to look at the petitions to see if it was all right and I was told me it was fine," Sferra said. "I did it the way I was instructed to do it. They had the opportunity to tell me it was wrong."

Sferra said he has made no decision on what he will do next, but could file a protest or opt to run in the Nov. 6 general election as a write-in candidate.

Joyce Kale-Pesta, a board employee who took Sferra's petitions, said she could do nothing to help the Campbell man because the statement of candidacy has to be signed and dated before any signatures are collected on campaign forms.

The missing date was discovered after Sferra had collected the necessary signatures to get his name on the ballot, she said.

"It's up to the petitioner to catch the mistakes," Sciortino said.

Given instructions: With each nominating form, potential candidates are given a fact sheet by the board informing them how to fill out petitions, Sciortino said.

The board met today to certify nominating petitions for candidates in Campbell and Sebring. Under the charters of those communities, a nonpartisan primary is to be held Sept. 25 with the top two finishers for each position facing each other in the November election.

One or two candidates are running for each of the Campbell races -- mayor, council president, four ward council seats and law director -- and there will be no Sept. 25 primary in the city.

Sebring is electing four council-at large members and has 10 candidates. A Sept. 25 primary will be held with the top eight finishers moving on to the Nov. 6 election.

skolnick@vindy.com




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