Candidates Listed for Nov. 2023 Ballot

Toby Sidorski
Lee Gray

August 29, 2023
By Rachel Scofield

The Fairfield County Board of Elections (FCBOE) has posted the list of certified candidates for the November 2023 ballot.

Toby Sidorski is running against incumbent Lee Gray for mayor of Pickerington.

For the three seats open on Pickerington City Council, there are three candidates – incumbents Nick Derksen, Crystal Hicks, and Brian Wisniewski.

Brian Wisniewski
Crystal Hicks
Nick Derksen

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In Violet Township, incumbent Darrin Monhollen is running unopposed for the one trustee position and incumbent Vanessa Niekamp is running unopposed for Fiscal Officer.

Vanessa Niekamp
Darrin Monhollen

For the two seats open on the Pickerington Local School District Board, there are five candidates. Steve Anderson, Mark Henson, and Cheryl Ricketts are running against incumbents Keith Kristoff and Cathy Olshefski.

Cheryl Ricketts
Cathy Olshefski
Keith Kristoff
Mark Henson
Steve Anderson

Countywide, there were 20 would-be candidates whom the FCBOE could not certify.

In Pickerington, Charles Newman was two signatures short of the 50 he needed to collect to be a candidate for city council. Newman had gathered 60 signatures, but the BOE determined that 12 of those he submitted belonged to people who were not registered to vote in the city.

The FCBOE also denied Michael Dorch and Lyndsey Phillips, who were both intending to run for the Pickerington School Board. Dorch’s paperwork was incomplete, and Phillips fell three short of the required 25 signatures.

It is not uncommon for signatures to be invalidated, as people may not know in which constituency they reside, or they may not be registered to vote at all. One long-serving elected official told Pickerington Online that he gathers twice the required number of signatures to avoid this problem.

When prospective candidates first approach the FCBOE, a staff member meets with them for 20 minutes to explain all the paperwork. They are given an Ohio Candidate Requirement Guide then instructed to direct any questions to the Ohio Secretary of State.

“Once they file a petition, a directive states that we are not allowed to help,” said Brett Riffle, Director of FCBOE. “Everything falls on the candidates to fill out the petitions correctly.”

It is possible to have people complete voter registration forms as signatures are collected. This practice is more commonly seen with liquor license applicants than political candidates, but it is an option.

After the potential candidate submits the voter registration forms with their ballot petition, the FCBOE enters the registration forms first before verifying the candidate petition.

“We don’t take any joy in denying people from the ballot, we just have to follow the law,” Riffle said.