CIRCLEVILLE - The future of two city council seats is still undetermined following a certification Wednesday by the Pickaway County Board of Elections.
The first ward seat currently has no candidates filed after the board rejected the petition of incumbent Republican Mike Logan, who failed to include a required statement about the number of signatures he obtained on his circulatory statement, according to Michele Lockard, director of the Pickaway County Board of Elections.
In the third ward, Republican candidate Josh Ford's petition resulted in a tie vote by the board, also due to a problem with the circulatory statement. Lockard said Ford included the statement with his petition, but it quoted an incorrect number of signatures.
Lockard said it is now up to the Ohio Secretary of State to break the tie and determine whether or not Ford will be certified as a candidate in November. The board has 14 days to provide the information and explanations of their votes to the Secretary of State.
The third ward position currently is held by Todd Brady, who has not yet filed to retain his seat. As an Independent, he has until May 4 to file.
In the first ward, Logan has no other filing options and is now ineligible for re-election this year.
"He can't run as an Independent, because he already filed for the same office as a party," Lockard said. "To run as an Independent, they have to be able to say in good faith they're not associated with a party. He also can't file as a write-in, because once you file for an office and board acts on it, that threw him out of being eligible as a write-in."
That leaves his council seat unclaimed unless a write-in candidate files before the Feb. 23 deadline, or an Independent candidate files before May 4.
Logan said he hadn't intended to seek re-election this year and only filed at the last minute when he learned no one else had taken out a petition for the office.
"I really don't have the time to devote to it anymore," Logan said. "City council is important, and it really deserves someone who can devote their time and energy to it."
Logan said he was "extremely embarrassed" that his petition was rejected for such a technicality, but it was probably for the best.
"I was already thinking I should just let it go this time," Logan said. "I just consider this a clear sign that I was right, and it was time."
Lockard said if no one files as a write-in or Independent, the office will go to the November ballot as "no candidate filed." She said she has not yet explored how the seat would be filled after Logan's term ends at the end of the year.
"I know the parties get involved on appointments if the seat is vacated through death or resignation," she said. "I'm sure there's a procedure for city council to appoint someone to that spot if no one runs, but I haven't checked into it yet to see what it is."
David M. Crawford, council president, said he has not yet explored those options, either, but he is hopeful it will be a moot point.
"I'm trusting that someone will step forward and run for that seat," Crawford said. "Council probably has a role if no one takes out a petition and would probably be able to appoint someone if it is not filled by Jan. 1. We've never had to deal with this for as long as I can remember, but I would think someone will step forward and run for that office."