By David Skolnick
The Mahoning County Board of Elections disqualified three potential school board candidates for problems with their nominating petitions.
Also, the board Thursday considered disqualifying two others but opted to certify them and everyone else who filed by the Aug. 7 deadline for nonpartisan seats such as township trustees and school board members.
Meanwhile, the board opted to wait until after the May 2014 primary to consider reducing the number of voting precincts, which is 273. Board Director Joyce Kale-Pesta is preparing a proposal to eliminate about 50 precincts that would take effect in the summer of 2014.
The board discussed this earlier this year with a plan to consolidate before this November election. But with a number of uncertainties, including the redistricting of Youngstown’s seven wards, the proposal is being pushed back a year.
Among those disqualified by the board Thursday is Tiffany Harris, who filed for a Youngstown school board seat.Harris had someone co-sign the circulator’s statement on seven of her nominating petitions. That nullifies signatures on those documents as only one person is legally permissible to circulate a nominating petition, Kale-Pesta said.
Harris needed 150 valid signatures to get on the ballot, but because of the mistake, she has only 55.
Even without that mistake, Harris had only 126 valid signatures on her petitions, Kale-Pesta said.
That leaves four candidates — Jerome Williams, Hattie W. Wilkins, Ronald Shadd and Jackie Adair — running for three seat on the Youngstown school board in the Nov. 5 election.
Because of confusion over Shadd’s address, the board considered a recommendation from staff to look at removing him from the ballot.
Shadd lists 341 Cabot St. as his place of residence on his driver’s license and voter registration information, but his nominating petitions give his address as 371 Cabot St., Kale-Pesta said. The latter address is where his mother, Brenda Kimble, already a Youngstown school board member, lives.
When contacted by The Vindicator, Kimble repeatedly refused to confirm she and Shadd are related. But Shadd is listed as a son on a candidate questionnaire she filled out for the newspaper when she successfully ran for the school board in 2011. Kimble said she’d have Shadd contact the newspaper Thursday, but he didn’t call as of late afternoon.
The board decided to keep Shadd on the ballot because the addresses are very close to each other, and he lives in the city so he’s eligible to run for a Youngstown school board seat.
Also Thursday, the elections board disqualified Mark S. Hall, who sought re-election to the Western Reserve school board. He needed 25 valid signatures on his nominating petitions. He turned in 26 signatures, but only 20 were ruled valid.
That leaves only two candidates — incumbents Lisa Powell and Richard Blevins — running for three seats.
Aug. 26 is the deadline for those who want to run for school board seats as write-in candidates.
Tom Huff, who filed to run for a seat on the Jackson-Milton school board, also was disqualified for failing to include the number of signatures on his petition forms.
Under state law, writing the number is a requirement and failure to do so automatically disqualifies a candidate, said Mark Munroe, elections board chairman.
That leaves five candidates —Kimberly L. Snowden Gross, Kenneth Maskarinec, Michele Catania, Kelly M. Teeters, and Mitch Mascioli — for three seats. Maskarinec is the only incumbent.
The board considered disqualifying Eric Glista as a candidate for the West Branch school board.
He needed 25 valid signatures to get on the ballot. He turned in petitions with 29 signatures, but a review by the Columbiana County Board of Elections found only 24 were valid. West Branch includes portions of Mahoning and Columbiana counties and all of Glista’s signatures came from Columbiana County residents.
However, a review by the Mahoning County board determined that one name that was half in cursive and the other half printed was valid, bringing Glista’s number of valid signatures to 25 — enough to qualify him as a candidate.