LIMA — For the lack of one valid signature, Carla Thompson has been ruled out of her attempt to get re-elected to Lima City Council in the 3rd Ward.
That leaves a vacancy for that seat, which will have to be decided by the Lima council.
The Allen County Board of Elections made its ruling in a special meeting Wednesday morning.
“Lima city and the charter allows a candidate to file, and then if there’s a problem, refile, go out and get more signatures. She had filed, the problem was her circulator date was too soon,” said Kathy Meyer, Allen County Board of Elections Director. “You have to sign the circulator statement after you get your signatures, where the front of the petition you have to sign up before you get the signatures. So there was only one signature that was good because she dated her circulator statement 1/23. So the first signature on her petition was dated 1/23. The rest of them were dated after that.”
Thompson says she understands what happened and says she can live with the ruling.
“I’m disappointed yes, but mad — no, because I think that it’s very, very important that the various boards of election do everything to ensure that the integrity of their work is good,” Thompson said.
Thompson went out and gathered more signatures, and ran into more problems.
“She comes back in with 26 signatures, but one of them was her own, and you can’t sign your own petition,” Meyer said. “One of them was a duplicate. The one signature that was good on the first petition, she had gotten him to sign again and then one had a bad address. That left her with one short, she only had 25 valid signatures.”
Had she had enough valid signatures, she would have been the only candidate running for the 3rd Ward in the fall. Now there are no candidates that are legally on the ballot for that ward.
“There will not be an election for that office, and that will result in what’s called a non-election for the office. It will mean that there’s a vacancy at the end of Miss Thompson’s current term at the end of this year,” said Tony Geiger, law director for the City of Lima. “Council will then be responsible for filling that vacancy for the entire term (four years).”
Geiger did say there is a possibility that Lima council could select Thompson to be appointed back to her council seat, but they are not required to do so.
“Yes. Absolutely,” Geiger said.
“I’m still interested in being the person who fills the position,” Thompson said. “But now it’s going to be up to my fellow council members to decide if they would like to appoint me to that position once my term is up.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409