SIDNEY – Sidney Mayor Michael Barhorst will be running for city council this November.
The decision was made by Judge James Stevenson this week to order the Shelby County Board of Elections to allow Barhorst’s name to be added to the ballot.
Although specific details of the decision were not obtained from the court by press time on Thursday, Barhorst and Board of Elections Chairman Christopher Gibbs provided statements.
“I am relieved that this matter is now behind me. I can finally begin actively campaigning for one of the three At-Large Council seats that are open, allowing the voters to make the decision as to whom they want representing them when they vote on Nov. 3, not the board of elections,” Barhorst said.
“We’re going to review the decision and look at our options going forward,” Gibbs said. “We’ll accept the judges opinion.”
Barhorst said in a press release he would not have infringed on the court’s valuable time by filing suit had he not believed that he had both acted properly and had complied with Ohio law when he filed his petition for candidacy with the board.
Barhorst filed the suit, seeking a court order to certify his nominating petition and statement of candidacy, on Aug. 21 in response to a ruling made earlier that week by the board of elections rejecting his nominating petition.
The board didn’t certify his petition because “the Circulator Statement indicated the number of signatures witnessed but contained more signatures appearing on the petition. … A circulator cannot witness fewer signatures than what appears on the petition.”
It said in his suit, “Barhorst, however, accurately represented that the petition contained 29, rather than 30 signatures, since one of the signers of the petition both printed and signed his name as permitted” by an Ohio Supreme Court case.
The board denied this allegation along with saying that Barhorst relied on outdated case law. The board’s position was that Barhorst should have stricken the printed name from the petition.
The deadline for the finalized ballot is Sept. 11 so the board can get absentee ballots printed in plenty of time. The court worked with the board of elections and Barhorst to get a decision ready for that date.
Gibbs said it is too early to tell if this will change the process the board goes through when they certify petitions in the future.