Two independents for Youngstown council seats disqualified

By David Skolnick


Two independent candidates for Youngs-town council seats are off the ballot because they voted in the Democratic primary the day after they filed.

The Mahoning County Board of Elections voted Tuesday to disqualify Amber Beall in the 1st Ward and Ezell Jones in the 6th Ward.

Both filed on the May 4 independent filing deadline and then voted in the Democratic primary a day later.

A 2007 advisory opinion from the secretary of state, based on a 2006 court decision, requires elections boards to disqualify independent candidates if they vote in a party primary after filing as independents.

“We tell them that if you run as an independent, you can’t then vote in the primary,” said Joyce Kale-Pesta, board of elections director.

Beall said she was never told that, but “I’m upset with myself. I should have done more to make sure I” knew the policy.

Beall said shortly before she voted, she was in a vehicular accident that resulted in a concussion.

“I wasn’t thinking straight, and I voted,” she said. “I was not in a good place at the time.”

With Beall disqualified, Julius T. Oliver, who won the Democratic primary by 11 votes, is unopposed in the November general election.

Attempts Tuesday by The Vindicator to reach Jones to comment were unsuccessful.

While Jones is out of the 6th Ward race, the nominating petitions of two other independents in that race – Victoria Allen and Tyrone Peakes – were certified to the ballot by the board Tuesday along with others for council seats in Youngstown and Poland village as well as for mayor and city council in Struthers.

Anita Davis won the Democratic primary in the 6th Ward.

Meanwhile, Kale-Pesta said redrawn precinct lines in Austintown, Boardman, Beaver and Milton, and in the cities of Campbell and Canfield – where 26 voting precincts in total are being eliminated – should be finished by mid-July.

Canfield is the top priority, she said, as that city has a special Aug. 4 election seeking approval from voters to increase its 1 percent income tax to 1.5 percent.

The city’s voting precincts are being reduced from 10 to 8. The special election will cost the city about $15,000, Kale-Pesta said.

The board eliminated 32 precincts in Youngstown and three in Struthers on Jan. 6.

With the reductions, the county is going from 273 voting precincts to 212.

The board also hired James Shaw of East Liverpool as its fiscal officer clerk at an annual salary of $40,433. Shaw originally is from Canfield and says he plans to relocate there.

Shaw is the Northeast Ohio field director for Americans for Prosperity, an influential national conservative advocacy organization, and executive regional vice chairman of the Ohio Young Republicans. Shaw said he’s leaving AFP on June 12 and starting at the board of elections June 22.