4 certified in Dayton races; Esrati fights to appear on ballot

The Montgomery County Board of Elections has certified the petitions of four of the five people who filed to run for Dayton City Commission. The fifth isn’t giving up without a fight.

Shenise Turner-Sloss, Valerie Duncan and incumbent Commissioners Matt Joseph and Chris Shaw submitted petitions that met the requirements for them to appear on the ballot in the race for two open commission seats, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Turner-Sloss’ name was not included in a Tuesday Dayton Daily News article about the commission race because incorrect information was shared by the elections office.

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The city will not have to hold a May runoff if there are only four candidates. The four would face off in November.

But David Esrati on Tuesday requested a protest hearing after the elections board voted not to certify his petitions.

Montgomery County Board of Elections Director Jan Kelley said Esrati had 489 valid signatures when he needed 500.

Kelly said Esrati’s petition contained 563 signatures. But board staff check to make sure people’s addresses, signatures and other information are accurate, and he did not have enough valid signatures, she said.

Esrati said his protest hearing will take place next week, and he intends to provide evidence, possibly in the form of signed affidavits, that the signatures were from valid sources.

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He said some people who signed his petitions signed their names instead of printing them. Esrati said he plans to get affidavits from about a dozen people proving they supported his petition or he’ll ask them to show up to the protest meeting to verify their support.

Esrati said the petition forms and process are deeply flawed and need to be fixed. He said the process deliberately tries to make it hard for people to get on the ballot. He promised to put petition reforms on the ballot if elected to the city commission.

“It’s not the Board of Selections — it’s the Board of Elections, and they are trying their damnedest to stop having elections at any cost,” he said.

Esrati unsuccessfully has run for city commission a handful of times. Turner-Sloss ran for a commission seat in 2017, but came in last place in a four-way race for two seats.

Shaw is seeking a second term, while Joseph is seeking his fifth. Duncan also is a newcomer in Dayton municipal politics.

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