In old business, the Fayette County Board of Elections met Wednesday and discussed the timeline of sheriff qualifications.
According to the agenda, the Fayette County Prosecutor, four Board of Elections members, and the director received a packet of information from Leonard Sines Aug. 25.
On Aug. 29, Sines attempted to file as a write-in candidate for sheriff—Sines’s second attempt to file a petition for sheriff candidacy in the 2016 general election.
With recommendation from the Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office, the Fayette County Board of Elections director and deputy director did not accept the filing.
“We looked at the materials that had been filed but the critical part was that Mr. Sines had already filed once,” said Dan Drake, assistant Fayette County prosecutor, citing Ohio Revised Code 3513.041. “The state says that once the candidate has filed for office he may not file again for office for the same candidacy.”
ORC 3513.041 governs write-in votes and states that “a board of elections shall not accept for filing the declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate of person seeking to become a candidate if that person, for the same election, has already filed a declaration of candidacy… or nominating petition…for any federal, state, or county office.”
Sines previously filed a nominating petition to run in the general election for the position of Fayette County Sheriff and in a May 4 meeting, the Fayette County Board of Elections said Sines was not eligible because in reviewing his candidacy affidavit, Sines did not show “clear and compelling evidence” that he held the qualifications as required by Ohio Revised Code.
A Washington C.H. resident appeared at the meeting Wednesday and asked questions about Leonard Sines’s qualifications to run as Fayette County Sheriff.
“This means you’re not going to let him run for sheriff?” said Richard E. Beechler, 76, who lives in Perry Township. “Can you accept the original application?”
“The original materials filed do not show qualifications,” said Drake.
“Can he amend that?” said Beechler.
Drake said it’s too late for Sines to amend.
Washington C.H. resident Mike Mills was at the meeting but stormed out, saying, “It’s another Hillary Clinton. It’s a rigged election.”
In May, the board found Sines was not qualified to run as sheriff because the documents he submitted for review did not show that he met the qualifications listed in ORC 311.01 9(a) and 9(b), which states the sheriff must have one of the following criteria: have at least two consecutive years of supervisory experience as a peace officer at the rank of sergeant or above, or have completed a bachelor’s degree in any field or have an associate degree in law enforcement or criminal justice from a college or university authorized to confer degrees by the Ohio board of regents.
In the qualifications the board was reviewing in May, Sines admitted to having completed supervisor school with the State of Ohio Highway Patrol in Columbus, Ohio, and that he had completed over four years of college credit, according to board member Myron Priest, who read aloud Sines’s affidavit for candidacy during the meeting.
But in a phone interview Wednesday, Sines admitted he did not submit employment information to the board in May to show he had any supervisory experience at the rank of sergeant or above.
“I was a sergeant for three years and two months in New Vienna, I don’t need the college requirement,” said Sines.
He said he later obtained letters from the mayor of New Vienna and from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to confirm that employment history, and sent those in to the board, followed by a petition to be a write-in candidate for sheriff.
“We didn’t have the substantiated information for the qualifications when he first filed. We told him the specifications, what sections of the revised code he did not meet, the qualifications needed for running,” said board member Judy Craig.
Sines also delivered a letter Aug. 27 to the home of board member Myron Priest, which stated, “It is important I meet with you today. You are my friend and I trust you. Please call me so we can meet today.”
“He was totally out of line thinking a board member would meet with him individually,” said Priest. “He called me, “I need to see you today.” We weren’t home that day, and came home to this note on my door.”
Board member Robin Beekman said Sines came into her place of business and tried to approach the subject.
“I immediately called the board of elections and let them listen,” said Beekman.
Snyder said board members aren’t allowed to discuss issues as individuals.
“We said what he needs to do is approach the whole board,” said Beth Ann Snyder, Board of Elections director. “It’s the law that we were following, there’s revised code and directives we have to follow.”
Sines was not at the Board of Elections meeting Wednesday to address the issue with the board.
Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton