Every person who pulls blank petition forms for elected office in Trumbull County is provided instructions at the board of elections to help him or her fill out that petition and collect signatures correctly.
Every person who returns to file those petitions to become a candidate is provided, also by the board of elections, a petition check-off list for the potential candidate to double check they are filled out correctly.
''It's supposed to be a reminder of what should have been completed,'' said Trumbull County Elections board director Kelly Pallante. The form, provided as a courtesy, is signed by the person and kept with the petitions.
In Mahoning County, prospective candidates are given a ''pretty comprehensive package'' of instructions, said elections board director Tom McCabe. They also must sign a form acknowledging they've received the information.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's Office makes available to candidates uniform guidance in several publications that are free, and elections board workers are available to answer questions.
Still, mistakes are made.
The elections board in Trumbull County removed prospective school board candidates in Warren and in Bristol and a candidate for city council in Cortland from the Nov. 8 ballot for errors.
Former city councilman John Caparanis didn't sign a part of his petition, causing the board to invalidate one whole page of signatures, which caused him to fall one short of the 50 required.
In the Bristol school board race, incumbent Donald Mickel didn't provide his address on some parts, again causing the board to kick that section, which caused him to fall below the required signature amount.
Rhonda Williamson Bennett didn't have enough valid signatures largely because 31 people printed their name instead of signing.
In Mahoning County, too, three people were not allowed to appear on the ballot because of issues that should have been caught by reviewing the instructions and checklist against the petitions.
What elections board workers cannot do is ''pre-check,'' petitions. That's when a worker reviews the petitions of prospective candidates or petitioners for validity and sufficiency before the petitions are filed.
Husted provided direction to elections boards that it's the candidate's responsibility to make sure his/her petitions meet the law's requirements. ''The candidate is obligated to investigate, learn and know the law governing the election process,'' Husted wrote in the directive prohibiting pre-checks.
A few things about the Trumbull County Engineer's Office since Randy Smith took control on Aug. 17: He says he's done away with making workers wear name tags when in public, his name isn't on the front door of the office on North River Road, nor does he have his picture in the lobby.
The office still has maps with the name and photos of Smith's predecessor, David DeChristofaro, but instead of scrapping those and buying new maps with Smith's name and photo, he says he's looking into the cost of buying stickers that say ''Trumbull County'' to cover the photos.
It's not so much that Smith is merely filling an unexpired term as it is that he's taken more of a low-key approach toward running the office. ''Bottom line, I'm trying to get the focus back to roads and bridges,'' he said.