MIAMI COUNTY — During their Wednesday meeting, the Miami County Board of Elections overturned one of their previous decisions regarding a petition from Philip G. Cox.
His petition for the Republican Central Committee in Miami County was rejected as the petition for candidate was not completed.
According to board member Bob Huffman, it was left blank.
“I present and go around and get all of the signatures myself,” Cox said.
Cox explained that he did not believe the petition for candidacy on the form was necessary to fill out if he was the one collecting the signatures.
“I pass my own petition,” Cox said. “It clearly says ‘petition for candidate,’ which the ‘for’ I take as ‘on behalf of.’ Since I did not have anybody do it on my behalf, I passed it myself, I did not complete that section.”
Huffman explained that Cox was confusing the petition for the candidate portion with the circulator’s statement on the back of the form, which was completed. The petition for candidate establishes for what the candidate is running. Huffman told Cox that the people signing the petition for Cox are “signing on your behalf.”
The board still decided to approve Cox’s petition as he had included the necessary information in other parts of the petition.
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” Huffman said. “We spent a lot of time on these, and it’s a pretty complicated issue. I think we just missed this … I will tell you, next time, don’t leave any blanks.”
The board also overturned their decision to reject the petition for Mary E. Buechter, whose petition for the Republican Central Committee in Miami County was also rejected as the petition for candidate was not completed. Buechter was also approved during their meeting Wednesday.
The board also received a directive from the Ohio Secretary of State to re-review petitions submitted in this county for old petitions that were submitted before the previous Nov. 3 election in regards to legalizing marijuana for both recreational and medical use. That initiative was rejected by Ohio voters.
The directive from the Ohio Secretary of State wanted the board to re-review petitions that appeared to have been altered after they were signed, including strike-outs of signatures, mathematical errors, and changes to the circulator statements. The board approved rejecting approximately 58 of those petitions.
“We don’t know who altered it, and we don’t know when it was altered,” Huffman said in connection with the petitions where the circulator statements appeared to have been changed after-the-fact.
Also covered in the board’s meeting was a discussion about recent issues that the board of elections office was having with their voter registration system, including their inability to access their voter registration system on a consistent basis. Issues with their voter registration system began in late December, according to Director Bev Kendall.
“We have one PC that we can get into our voting registration (system),” Kendall said.
“We’ve had to isolate the systems,” Matt Watkins, director of Miami County’s Information Technology Department, said. Watkins, when asked by board member Jose Lopez, speculated that the issue is “weak” software that is “incredibly intolerant to any kind of delay.”
“They are still in the trouble-shooting process,” Mike Dankworth of Miami County’s Information Technology Department said about the vendor, Triad.
“We’ve got a big problem if we don’t fix this by March,” Lopez said. The next election will be held on March 15 for the Presidential Primary election.
The board also received a brief update on their e-poll books. They have postponed use of them until June.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall