April 24, 2014

Medina
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ELECTION 2013: Write-in candidates sign tickets to victory

At least a couple of the winners in the Nov. 5 election in Medina County will have managed to get elected even though their names weren’t on the ballot. Nine write-in candidates are competing for five offices in November’s general election.

In three of the contests — for Guilford Township trustee, for Seville Village Council and for Westfield Center’s Board of Public Affairs — a write-in candidate looks to win office because not enough regular candidates filed for the races.

- Guilford Township voters will elect two trustees from among four candidates, three of whom are write-ins: Steven K. Fulton, Dan Lloyd and Gene Morris. Incumbent trustee Glenn M. Sheller is the only candidate to file petitions to get on the ballot.
- In the race for four seats on Seville Village Council, incumbents Kathy A. Rhoads and Rick Stallard are the only two names on the ballot. That means write-in candidates Dennis Barrington and Carol Carter are both likely winners.
- No candidate filed a petition for Westfield Center’s opening on the Board of Public Affairs. But a single write-in vote for incumbent Wayne Noall should be enough for him to keep his job.

Noall, who has served on the Board of Public Affairs for 20 years, said he didn’t file petitions to get on the ballot because he forgot that he was up for election this year.

“Usually the clerk gives us a heads up, but she didn’t do it this year,” he said. “Of course, I should have been watching.”

Noall has a plan for rustling up some votes.

“I’ll probably go up to the post office and tell them I appreciate their write-in vote,” he said.

Registering as a write-in is easier and cheaper than filing as a regular candidate. The only cost is a $30 fee. No petition signatures are required and write-in candidates are required to report their campaign spending.

The big downside for write-ins is their names don’t appear on the ballot.

Board of Elections Deputy Director Carol Gurney said voters can ask for a list of write-in candidates.
Gurney said missing the regular filing deadline is the most common reason candidates run as write-ins.

This year, regular candidates had to file their petitions by Aug. 7. But the deadline for write-ins wasn’t until Aug. 26.

Gene Morris said he registered to run as a write-in candidate for Guilford Township’s two open trustee seats after he saw that incumbent Glenn Sheller was the only candidate to file petitions.

Morris said that if the other trustee position was not filled, a court would appoint someone. Rather than see that happen, Morris registered as a write-in candidate.

But he’s anything but a shoo-in to win. That’s because two others, Dan Lloyd and Steven K. Fulton, also registered as write-ins.

Morris said he’s counting voters knowing him from his work with Jarvis Septic & Drain, 3596 Greenwich Road, Guilford Township. Morris estimated that his job has taken him into about a third of the homes in the township.

“I’m pretty sure a lot of people still think my last name is Jarvis,” Morris said.

While the later filing deadline gives last-minute candidates and stragglers a chance to join the race, it also provides a second chance for those who ran into problems with their petitions.

That’s what happened to incumbent Buckeye school board member Tracy Mattern, who withdrew from the race Aug. 16, only to register as a write-in.

Mattern, who could not be reached for comment, faces an uphill battle to keep his seat. In addition to incumbent Kenneth R. Barco, two other candidates filed petitions to get on the ballot — Kim Cecelich and Jonathan Stahl — for the three open seats on the board.

Two write-in candidates for Lodi Village Council — Gregory Daniel Cepik and Robert Eugene Powell Sr., — also are extreme long-shots.

In addition to incumbents John Carpenter and Patricia A. Graham, three other regular candidates — Letha Mapes, Patricia K. May and Cecelia Sivard — are running for the four open seats.

James Jude Simonelli of Wadsworth was a write-in candidate for one of the three available seats on the Medina County Educational Service Center, but withdrew this week citing health reasons.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com