Only write-ins on city council ballot

By Scott Halasz -

XENIA — The ballot for Xenia City Council in the November election will not contain any names, and voters will elect a new member via write-in.

Thomas Scrivens, who was appointed to temporarily fill the opening created when Sarah Mays was elected mayor, turned in petitions, but they were not certified due to a clerical error. Per the city charter, an appointed member serves until Dec. 31 of the year of the next general election. The remainder of the term is filled via vote of the electorate.

Nobody else took out petitions to run for that council seat, according to the board of elections, but three declared themselves write-in candidates: Billie Carrico, Philip R. Shaw, and William Urschel.

Their names will only appear on the board website in the 45-day notice for military and overseas voters, according to board director Llyn McCoy.

Scrivens attempted to run in 2017 council election, but a clerical error prevented his name from appearing at that time as well. The first error was a missing signature. The second error was a failure to enumerate how many signatures were submitted, according to Scrivens.

“It was pretty much a repeat,” he said. “In my haste, I missed that.”

He has no recourse. Ohio Revised Code 3513.041 prohibits a potential candidate from running as a write-in if they had already submitted petitions for that election, which Scrivens said is unfair.

“Any citizen should be able to run as a write-in,” he said.

Scrivens also said vacancies should be filled for the entire term, but he took some blame for what he called a quirk in the charter.

“I can only fault myself because I was one of the principal authors of the charter,” he said.

Carrico and Shaw ran in the last council election when two seats were open. Carrico received 1,183 votes, the third most, while Shaw received 523. Carrico later applied to fill the vacancy — along with Scrivens and others — and received a plethora of support from citizens who felt she should have been appointed because she finished third and because she went through the entire process, which included turning in petitions that were certified.

McCoy offered advice to future candidates to make sure their names appear on the ballot.

“Read the directions given to them when they pick up their petitions,” she said. “They should check their petitions carefully before turning them into the board of elections as we do not pre-check petitions. Once they are handed to us they are considered filed. Generally candidates forget to fill in the top of the petition and sign and date before collecting signatures. They forget to fill in a blank on the petition or they do not complete the circulator’s statement.“

By Scott Halasz

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.