Longtime Loveland School Board member Michele Pettit was informed by the Board of Elections her candidate filing
was not certified.
By Chuck Gibson
LOVELAND, OH (August 20, 2o21) – The Hamilton County Board of Elections is responsible to validate signatures for candidates filing for election for Loveland City School District (LCSD) Board of Education (BOE).
Pettit was informed by the Hamilton County Board of Elections she was not certified as a candidate following her filing of the required paperwork and signatures. The petition to file requires a candidate to provide 75 verifiable signatures. Pettit says she turned in 95 signatures – all valid residents – with her filing. The Board of Elections informed her only 55 signatures were validated there. She wondered what happened to the other 40 signatures.
Pettit went down to the Hamilton County Board of Elections to investigate what happened. She was greeted there by a “very nice woman” who took time to pull out the signatures and review everything with her.
“I’m looking at them, and someone had taken my Clermont County signatures and stapled Hamilton County signatures to it,” Pettit explained. “It voided all my Clermont County signatures. I did not staple them, because I did not turn anything in with staples or paper-clips per directions.”
Pettit has filed three times and is familiar with the process. It is a unique situation with LCSD being in both Hamilton and Clermont County. The 40 Clermont County signatures voided would give her more than enough to be a certified candidate listed on the November ballot.
There is certainly more to the story. At this point, it is almost like a “she said” – “they said” with neither side owning up to what really appears to be a clerical error. At this juncture, Pettit is skeptical there will be any resolution to include her on the ballot. She has a receipt showing she hand-delivered her filing and remains steadfast in her claim it was a valid filing with valid signatures in proper order.
“There’s no way I stapled them, but I can’t prove that,” Pettit said. “They’re looking into it, but they’re not going to do anything.”
Pettit has the option of going to Clermont County Board of Elections to review what happened there. Again, she is skeptical and doubts it will change anything.
If nothing changes, Pettit stated she will not campaign as a write-in candidate. She will continue to serve out her current term which expires December 31, 2021. Still, the investigation into how the Clermont County signatures were stapled and then voided at Hamilton County Board of Elections continues.
Loveland Beacon has reached out to the officials at Hamilton County Board of Elections, but has not yet spoken directly with any official. We await a return call.
Interestingly, in an effort to speak with Clermont County Deputy Director of Elections Chris Dennison for an explanation of what happened, I was directed to contact Hamilton County Board of Elections: “Loveland Schools largest populace is Hamlton County, they have all the information.” – Clermont County Board of Elections representative on the phone.