Each prospective candidate obtaining nominating petitions from the Miami County Board of Elections now receives a candidate checklist approved Nov. 23 by the elections board.
Election officials hope the checklist will help ensure against multiple prospective candidates from being eliminated from the ballot because of petition errors.
Checklist options had been under review since 30 petitions by those hoping to be on the November ballot were thrown out by the board in August.
Elections Director Bev Kendall said the checklist was drawn up following review of the lists given to candidates by other elections offices in the area.
She also discussed the checklist content and use with a legal adviser at the Secretary of State’s Office before giving it to the board for its action, Kendall said.
“We should be doing everything we can to get people on the ballot and turn in good petitions without us violating the giving legal advice prohibition,” said board member Robert Huffman Jr.
The elections board reviewed the proposed checklist before approving unanimously its content and distribution to those who picked up nominating petitions beginning that day.
The checklist also would be available on the election office website, said Eric Morgan, deputy elections director.
The checklist tells candidates the election staff is prohibited by the Secretary of State from checking petitions for prospective candidates. The county petition review policy prohibits employees of the election office from answering candidates’ questions about petition validity prior to action on the petitions by the board of elections.
The checklist “strongly” encourages candidates to check details of petition areas such as statement of candidacy, nominating petition section, signatures, dates and circulator statement. These are petition areas were errors were encountered in August
The checklist reminds candidates in bold print that it is the candidate’s sole responsibility to ensure that the petition satisfies legal requirements.
Elections office representatives also met last week with the county commission to discuss the county paying a portion of the bill to purchase electronic poll books.
The elections board voted in October to buy the poll books from Election Systems and Software. The state notified the board it would pay up to $119,000 for the poll books, which will cost $169,000 including three years of licensing costs.
Eric Morgan, deputy elections director, said the electronic poll books would be "way more efficient" and would quickly update voter lists following each election.
The elections board plans to use the poll books for the first time during the March primary election.
“This is going to be the future because it cuts down on errors … on lines (at the polls),” said Kelly Gillis, elections board chairman.
Although the state said it would pay 85 percent of the cost, the $119,000 is the maximum the board will receive, board member Dean Tamplin told the commission. The commissioners asked elections staff to visit other counties using the poll books already to learn about their processes and any difficulties encountered.