ELECTIONS Tofil goes off ballot over signature snafu

This is the second mayoral candidate to have nominating petition problems.
CAMPBELL -- Rather than waiting for his mayoral nominating petitions to be disqualified, Frank D. Tofil is withdrawing his name from the city's Sept. 27 primary ballot.
However, Tofil still wants to be mayor. A laborer at Astro Shapes Inc. in Struthers, Tofil filed Thursday to run as a write-in candidate.
"This makes it more challenging to win, but I like challenges," he said. "I'm not giving up."
When Tofil filed his nominating petitions at the Mahoning County Board of Elections by Tuesday's deadline, election employees noticed problems.
Campbell mayoral candidates need 100 valid signatures. Tofil submitted a petition with 114 signatures.
However, election board employees found problems with at least 18 of them, including printed names instead of signatures and signatures from people not registered to vote. The employees said the board would probably rule Tofil's petitions invalid and disqualify him.
"I made a mistake," he said. "I don't want people to think I'm quitting. I know I should have gotten more signatures."
Tofil unsuccessfully ran for 3rd Ward councilman eight years ago.
The planned ballot
F. Anthony Fontes filed to run for mayor, but withdrew his petitions Tuesday because of problems with the documents. He filed to run as a write-in candidate.
This means three names will appear on the city's Sept. 27 nonpartisan mayoral primary runoff after the county election board certifies their petitions. Election board employees say they didn't see problems with those nominating petitions.
The top two finishers, according to the city's charter, move on to the Nov. 8 general election.
They are: Mayor John E. Dill, who was first elected to the post in 1999; council President Robert P. Yankle, who's held that seat for five years and is a former 4th Ward councilman; and Juanita Rich, a former 4th Ward councilwoman who lost mayoral bids in 1995 and 1999.

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