YOUNGSTOWN COUNCIL Write-ins ineligible to run in primary

The two can run in the November general election.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Two Republican write-in candidates for city council cannot run in the May 6 primary because they are ineligible.
Donald E. Willis of Falls Avenue and Sandra L. Holowatuk of Mahoning Avenue, who filed for the 1st and 4th Ward council seats, respectively, may run in the November general election as nonparty candidates, said Thomas McCabe, Mahoning County Board of Elections deputy director.
Willis and Holowatuk could not be reached.
The deadline is May 5 to file as an independent in Youngstown for the November general election.
No official action needs to be taken to remove Willis and Holowatuk from the ballot, said Mark Munroe, Mahoning elections board chairman.
"They've filed for an election that won't happen, so it's a moot point," he said.
Until recently discovering a state ruling that the two write-ins are ineligible to run, and getting a confirmation from the Ohio Secretary of State's Office, no one at the county elections board was aware of the law, McCabe said.
No contested race
In cases where there is no contested race on a primary ballot no primary is held, McCabe and Munroe said.
If there was a citywide contested Republican primary, or if Willis and/or Holowatuk were running in a contested primary, they would be eligible to run as write-ins.
"You can't have a write-in candidate if there's no election," Munroe said.
To be considered write-in candidates, Willis and Holowatuk had to fill out a simple form and submit it and a $45 filing fee to the board of elections.
The fee, which was paid by the county Republican Party, will not be returned.
To run as nonparty candidates, they will need to collect the signatures of 25 eligible voters in their wards and pay another $45 filing fee. The local GOP is expected to pay that fee as well even though the two wouldn't be running as Republicans.