Knox County voter

A voter casts his ballot at the Fredericktown Board of Education building on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

MOUNT VERNON – Mount Vernon will see at least two contested city council races this fall, according to petitions filed with the Knox County Board of Elections.

The filing deadline for party-affiliated candidates to run for an elected city position was Feb. 3. The BOE will meet next Tuesday to certify those petitions. Independent candidates will have until May 3 to file a petition for the Nov. 2 general election.

Five residents have filed petitions to run for City Council's three at-large seats. The incumbents – Tanner Salyers (R), Janis Seavolt (R) and Julia Warga (D) – will run alongside newcomers Amber Keener (R) and Franklin Walker (D) this fall.

The First Ward council seat will also be up for grabs, as Joshua Kirby (R) has filed to run against incumbent Samantha Scoles (D).

The other three city council seats are currently uncontested. Incumbents John Francis (Republican, Second Ward), Tammy Woods (Republican, Third Ward) and Mike Hillier (Republican, Fourth Ward) will all run unopposed, pending the certification of an Independent challenger. So will Council President Bruce Hawkins (R) and City Treasurer David Stuller (R).

Given the lack of candidates from either party, a primary election this spring will not be necessary, BOE Deputy Director Scott Howard said. All candidates will automatically advance to the November ballot.

City positions won't be the only seats up for grab this fall. The November ballot will also include races for village and township government positions, school board seats, and other local governing boards.

The deadline for these candidates to file with the BOE isn't until Aug. 4, Howard explained, because they are running for non-partisan positions (and would therefore not require early certification for a potential spring primary race). Issues on the November ballot will have the same filing deadline.

There will be a special election May 4, Howard added. Voters will decide four local issues, which met the filing deadline last week:

  • Pleasant Township: Additional property tax – 1 mill over four years (commencing 2021, first due 2022). Providing fire protection and emergency medical services.
  • North Fork School District: Renewal income tax – 1 percent over three years (commencing Jan. 1, 2026). Covering current operating expenses.
  • Knox County: Additional property tax – 1 mill over 10 years (commencing 2021, first due 2022). Providing funding and support for Knox County Children's Services and the care and placement of children.
  • Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District: Replacement property tax – 5 mills over four years (commencing 2020, first due 2021). Providing fire protection and emergency medical services.

For more information on voter registration and local elections, visit the BOE's website:

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Staff Reporter

Grant is a 2018 graduate of Ohio Northern University, where he studied journalism and played basketball. He likes coffee, books and minor league baseball. He loves telling stories and has a passion for local news.