Former election director clarifies past election practices

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Diana Gamble, a retired co-director of the Logan County Board of Elections, said she and fellow director Lucinda Holycross never violated election law or ethics guidelines when instructing filers of petitions in past elections.

In a Tuesday story, three incumbent trustees who had petitions to run for election rejected by the board of elections indicated that the way candidates were treated under the former directors was slightly different than current practices.

In this year’s local races 21 of 102 petitions were rejected while 19 of 112 were declined in 2015 — the first local election current directors Adam Brannon and Kandie Horton presided over. Those numbers were notably lower under Gamble and Holycross.

“There are ways you can assist a candidate without violating that law,” Gamble said. “The rule is that you cannot look at a petition and say you did not do that, but you can assist them in different ways to file.”

She said she and Holycross would ask candidates general questions about their petitions — such as whether certain sections were filled out — without looking at or accepting the documents. Candidates occasionally chose to review or make changes after the reminders, which she said is in compliance with directives from the Ohio Secretary of State.

“We presented petitions to the board for approval, but never was a petition certified which was incomplete,” Gamble said, noting that there was never any semblance of party or political favoritism during the approximately 10 years she and Holycross served together in the office. 

“There are different things you can do to assist and answer questions, but there was never any party affiliation ever brought into that,” Gamble said.