The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2024

Van Wert voters to decide on partisan issue

Editor’s note: in the interest of a better informed voting public, the VW independent is running a series of articles about local issues and races appearing on the November 8 ballot.

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

Shall candidates for election as officers of the City of Van Wert in the county of Van Wert be nominated as candidates by nominating petitions and be elected only in a nonpartisan election?

That is the exact wording of a November 8 general election ballot issue before voters in the city of Van Wert. It was submitted by Van Wert Mayor Ken Markward to the Van Wert County Board of Elections in July.

Currently, anyone who runs for a Van Wert City Council seat or administrative post such as mayor appears as a Democrat, Republican or Independent on the May primary ballot and the November general election ballot.

“The rationale is to avoid an expense that we are not required to have,” Markward said. “I will use part of the 2021 elections as an illustration. This is what happened: two names were on the ballot in May for council president. The winner’s name then appeared unopposed on the November ballot. If this measure would have been in effect last year, this is what would have happened: the two names would have been on the November ballot, and we would not have had to pay for a primary election.”

“A similar situation occurred for the three council-at-large positions,” he continued. “Four people ran in the May primary, and the three winners automatically won in November. Under this proposal, the four names would have appeared on the November ballot, avoiding the cost of a primary.”

The cost of such primary races can be several thousand dollars.

Markward also stressed the issue, if approved, would only affect races within the Van Wert city limits.

“It would affect the following positions: mayor, law director, auditor (city only, not the county auditor), treasurer (city only, not the county treasurer), president of council and council members (seven people),” Markward said. “These are all of the positions in city government that are elected. There are 12 people that hold these six positions. It would not affect any other position, county, state, federal.”

Markward also noted other non-partisan races already appear on the ballot.

“This is the same process we already use to elect township trustees and school board members,” he stated. “It seems to be working very well for those positions. Anyone wanting to run for office would still need to file their petition with the Van Wert County Board of Elections with the required number of signatures, placing their name on the November ballot.”

This would have no effect on the way the city does business, other than to eliminate an expense from the budget,” Markward added.

Early in-person voting continues at the Van Wert County Board of Elections Office, or ballots may be requested by mail. In addition, the polls will be open on Election Day, November 8, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

POSTED: 10/31/22 at 3:51 am. FILED UNDER: News