XENIA — The Greene County Board of Elections ruled Monday that a pair of city council candidates will not appear on the November ballot.
In separate actions, the board voted to decertify petitions turned in by Mike Engle and Will Urschel — both current council members who were seeking re-election.
Engle and Urschel had turned in petitions with what they were thought were adequate signatures (50) based on information they said they received from the board of elections. However Xenia citizens Christian M. Steen and Benjamin C. Patterson discovered the two incumbents did not have enough signatures (75) per the city charter — which supersedes the Ohio Revised Code — and filed a protest last month.
After hearing testimony from Steen and Urschel and a pair of current city council members Friday, the board reconvened Monday and deliberated in executive session for about 20 minutes before voting. Engle was decertified 3-0, as board chair John Caupp recused himself due to being a former Xenia city council member and what he said were accusations against him by Engle leading to possible legal action. Urschel was decertified 4-0.
“The law is the law,” Steen said after the vote. “I’m glad that it came through. This is a procedural matter. I have no opinion (of the candidates) at all, good or ill.”
Urschel said he plans to appeal not only the decision to the second circuit court of appeals but also appeal Caupp being part of discussions after temporarily recusing himself as board chair due to his status as a former Xenia city council member.
Engle had no comment on the vote.
During the hearing on Friday Urschel said the protest should be rejected because of the erroneous information he and Engle received.
The board did not agree.
“Even if the board finds that staff contributed to the error, the board is not stopped from removing the candidates from the Nov. 5, 2019 ballot as the candidates petitions do not conform to the substantive legal requirements of the city charter,” board member Doris Adams said in a prepared statement.
Monday’s decision leaves three candidates for four spots — Rebekah Dean, Dr. Edgar Wallace, and Thomas Scrivens. Wallace is currently on council and Scrivens previously served on council when he was appointed to fill an unexpired term. Cody Branum was certified as a write-in candidate.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.