Elections board reverses 2 decisions


By Sam Wildow

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TROY — On Tuesday evening, the Miami County Board of Elections reversed its decision on two candidate petitions that had previously been denied. The board also later denied an additional petition for the November ballot from Piqua Mayor Kris Lee.

The board voted 3-0 to approve candidate petitions for Greg Enslen, who is running for the Tipp City Council, and Kelly McMaken, who is running for the Piqua Board of Education. Chairman Dave Fisher was present virtually during the meeting by phone, but he was not procedurally allowed to vote.

The board previously believed one of the signatures on Enslen’s petition was a duplicate, but it was later found to be two different signatures. Enslen previously had 24 valid signatures when 25 were needed to qualify for the ballot. Enslen clarified one signature belonged to his wife and the other belonged to his son. The board’s office then found the second signature belonging to Enslen’s son, Alexander, did match his other signatures, bringing Enslen up to 25 valid signatures.

The board then reversed its decision regarding McMaken’s petition, who was represented by attorney Frank Patrizio. Patrizio called five witnesses during the Tuesday meeting, each of whom testified their signatures on McMaken’s petition were indeed their signatures even though the board had previously deemed them to be invalid.

The signatures in question on McMaken’s petition appeared to have been printed when the names needed to be in cursive in order to match previous signature records for those voters. Printed signatures on petitions are allowed if the board has printed signatures on file for that voter, such as a printed signature on a poll book or the person’s voter registration card.

“I found the testimony of the five witnesses to be credible,” board member Rob Long said.

Following those decisions, the board then denied a petition for Kris Lee, who is currently the 3rd ward commissioner on the Piqua City Commission and the mayor of Piqua, due to Lee having an insufficient number of valid signatures on his petition. He collected 73 signatures and needed 50 signatures in order to qualify, but Lee only had 46 valid signatures.

Director Laura Bruns said printed names instead of signatures in cursive was the major issue with the signatures on Lee’s petition, like with McMaken’s petition. The board discussed how the city of Piqua’s candidate petitions say “name” on the sheet instead of “signature,” possibly misleading those signing the petitions. Deputy Director Ian Ridgeway clarified the city’s charter does say signatures are required. The city’s charter is why the petition forms are different for Piqua candidates than for other candidates in Miami County. The charter also has a later date of certification approval for Piqua City Commission candidates than for other candidates in the county.

The board decided to decline Lee’s petition, but Lee can still request the board to reconsider the decision.

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