Madison - St. Clair Record

Friday, August 23, 2019

Independent candidate says he will appeal judge's decision to remove him from Madison County Board race

By Karen Kidd | Sep 6, 2016

Tyler Oberkfell of Troy | Photo courtesy of Tyler Oberkfell

An Independent candidate knocked out of the Madison County Board District 2 race by judge's decision last week said in a recent interview that his drive to get on the ballot isn't over yet. 

"The decision by the circuit judge is disappointing," Tyler Oberkfell of Troy told the Record in an email interview. "I don't agree with it and there are a lot of folks in Troy that are angry that I have been kicked off the ballot. I plan to appeal his decision in order to preserve democracy. I believe the people should choose who will work for them, not a judge. I am hopeful that the system will right itself."

Neither Oberkfell's would-be opponent in the race, Republican Donald A. Moore of Troy, nor Moore's attorney, James Craney, responded to requests for comment.

With Oberkfell out of the race, Moore is running unopposed. Moore beat the Republican incumbent currently in the District 2 seat, Roger Alons, during the Republican primary last spring.

Oberkfell, an architecture teacher at Troy's Triad High School, made his first move toward getting on the ballot earlier this summer. Oberkfell filed a petition with election officials and presented himself as an independent candidate for Madison County Board District 2, representing Troy. Oberkfell's petition contained 273 signatures, 41 more than the minimum 232 signatures required to appear on the ballot.

Soon after Oberkfell turned in his petition, Moore filed an objection, alleging that 55 of the signatures on the petition were of residents not properly registered to vote.

Signature rules are not especially straight forward for candidacy in the race. Each candidate must turn in a certain number of signatures to appear on the ballot, with the number determined by the number of people in that party who voted in the most recent gubernatorial race. Moore, as a Republican, was required to turn in the number of signatures equal to 5 percent of registered Republicans who voted in the last gubernatorial election, which meant he needed only 19 signatures. However, Oberkfell, because he's running as an independent, was required to gather 232 valid signatures.

There followed a series of Madison County Electoral Board hearings, during which 39 of the signatures on Oberkfell's ballot were disqualified, leaving Oberkfell on the ballot by only two votes, a total of 234.

Moore appealed to Madison County Circuit Court, asking for judicial review of the Madison County Electoral Board findings.

On Aug. 30, Madison County Circuit Judge John Barberis issued a ruling that said the electoral board should have eliminated four additional invalid signatures that Moore had not included in his objection. That decision left Oberkfell two votes shy of the minimum required to be included on the ballot.

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