WARREN -- Willoughby lawyer Jeffrey H. Black has collected what he hopes will be sufficient signatures to land his name on the ballot for an open seat on the 11th District Court of Appeals.
Black has filed petitions with the Lake County Board of Elections bearing what he said were about 3,600 signatures in support of his bid as an independent candidate.
The Lake County board handles the 11th appellate district, which comprises Lake, Trumbull, Geauga, Ashtabula and Portage counties.
Officials require 2,489 valid signatures to get on the ballot in the appeals court race.
Because judicial races are nonpartisan, Black's name will appear alongside that of Democratic nominee Cynthia Rice and Republican Mark J. Hassett, with no mention of party affiliation.
"I'm truly independent," said Black, 49, who has worked for six years as a magistrate in Willoughby Municipal Court.
"I've never been affiliated with a party, so I didn't' think it was right to jump on a party bandwagon now," he said. "This is the right way to do it."
Black maintains a law practice in Painsville and prosecutes cases on behalf of the Madison village solicitor. He has never before run for public office.
He said 60 volunteers spent five days circulating his petitions, primarily in Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties.