Jimmy Hughes’ name will remain on the ballot as a candidate for Youngstown mayor, but any votes cast for him will not be counted, Mahoning County Board of Elections officials said.
Hughes, a retired police chief, publicly endorsed DeMaine Kitchen, a fellow independent candidate who is the mayor’s chief of staff/secretary, July 25. Hughes, however, failed to officially withdraw from the race by Tuesday’s deadline.
Because he missed the deadline, Hughes’ name must stay on the ballot under state law.
But after being told of his failure to withdraw by the deadline by The Vindicator, Hughes submitted a written notice to the board that he’s no longer a candidate.
That means any votes for Hughes won’t be counted, said Mark Munroe, elections board chairman, and Director Joyce Kale-Pesta.
To comply with state elections law, the board will include a notice with each absentee ballot request by city residents that votes for Hughes will not be counted, Munroe said.
Also, there will be notices placed at each polling location in the city with the same information, Munroe said.
“The notice will say that votes for [Hughes] will be void and not counted,” he said.
The board of elections doesn’t need to take any formal action to accept Hughes’ resignation, Munroe said.
When informed by the newspaper on Tuesday that he failed to withdraw as a candidate and that he would be on the ballot, Hughes said, “I’m not trying to throw any shenanigans into it. My intent is to support DeMaine Kitchen for the race. I will have to work hard to let people know I’m not running. I’m sad about this.”
On Thursday, Hughes said the situation isn’t ideal, but “this is better than it was.”
A state law that took effect June 26 states: “Boards will not remove from the ballot the name of any candidate who withdraws after the 70th day before a primary or general election.”
Tuesday was that 70th day. Before the new law, the deadline to withdraw was 45 days before the election.
Having Hughes’ name on the ballot, even though votes for him won’t count, could still play a factor in the race.
Hughes said some of his supporters have told him they’re voting for him regardless of the situation.
Also on the mayoral ballot are John M. Crea and Frank Bellamy, both independent candidates, as well as John A. McNally IV, a former city law director and county commissioner who is the Democratic nominee.
Claudette Moore and Cecil Monroe are running as write-in candidates.