MAHONING COUNTY Board disqualifies mayoral candidate

Budget cuts could mean major changes for voters.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Eight is apparently enough.
The Mahoning County Board of Elections disqualified Diane Murphy as a Youngstown mayoral candidate Thursday.
Murphy, an English teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School, failed to meet two basic requirements to be a Youngstown mayoral candidate: Her nominating petitions didn't have enough valid signatures, and she's not in compliance with a city charter provision to run for mayor. That provision requires mayoral candidates to be electors of Youngstown for the past five years before running for the seat, said Michael Sciortino, elections board director.
Murphy owns a home on McCollum Road, and says she lives there. But she also owned a home in Beaver Township. Murphy told the elections board she lives there too. During her failed bid last year for the 6th Congressional District seat, she listed the Beaver home as her place of residency.
Until Feb. 2, her voter registration card listed the Beaver house as her voting address. That means she isn't considered an elector in Youngstown.
Mayoral candidates need 50 valid signatures on nominating petitions. Murphy's petition had 51 names, but two people aren't registered voters.
Also, at least a half-dozen people printed their names instead of using their signature. That is typically not considered a valid signature by elections board in Ohio, although the local board has some discretion.
Murphy complained that the nominating petitions don't specifically state that printed names are not allowed. But election officials said a booklet Murphy received from the election office lists that information.
With Murphy gone, there are eight candidates running in the Democratic primary for Youngstown mayor on May 3.
The winner will take on Republican Robert C. Korchnak and those who file by the May 2 deadline to run as nonparty candidates in the November general election.
The elections board ruled Thursday to keep Herbert Tinsley as a Democratic candidate for the 1st Ward seat on Struthers City Council.
Tinsley's nominating petitions listed a Woodbine Street address, but his voter registration card shows his residence on Oakview Avenue. Both streets are in Struthers' 1st Ward.
Tinsley was permitted to stay on the ballot because state election law states as long as a candidate lists an address that is in the correct ward, he can't be disqualified, Sciortino said.
Tinsley faces two other candidates in the Democratic primary for the seat being vacated by Councilman Anthony R. Protopapa, who is challenging council President Robert D. Carcelli for his post.
Also Thursday, the elections board discussed its budget cut by the county caused by the rejection of voters last year to renew a 0.5 percent sales tax.
County commissioners asked all departments to cut their budgets to no more than the amounts they received in 1999.
The elections board's $1.17 million request, less than it received in 1999, was rejected by the commissioners. The commissioners instead gave $700,000 to the board.
Thomas McCabe, the board's deputy director, said the department would exhaust all of its money by October, a month before the general election, at the $700,000 amount.
Scaling back
The board is already scaling back its expenses, he said. The board typically has a paid staffer deliver and collect absentee ballots at nursing homes in the county. Instead, the board will probably mail the ballots or could seek volunteers to do the work.
The board is also considering reducing its 312 election precincts by 60, McCabe said. But there is no cost savings for that this year because the board would have to spend money to send letters to voters whose polling places would change, he said.
Several precincts voted at one polling location, Sciortino said. The board could save money by having one voting area for a polling place with multiple precincts, he said.
"If a polling place has four precincts, we could reduce it to one voting table," Sciortino said. "It could cause a problem with longer lines though."