No elections slated for unopposed municipal candidates

Friday, October 7, 2011

When the calendar turns over to 2012, Sue Murray will remain the mayor of Greencastle. However, not one vote will be cast for Murray in the Nov. 8 municipal election.

The same goes for Greencastle city councilors Phyllis Rokicki, Adam Cohen, Mark Hammer and T.J. Smith; Bainbridge clerk-treasurer Jason Hartman; Fillmore councilors Alan Jones and Tami Parker and Cloverdale councilor Donald Sublett.

All nine of these officials are technically up for re-election this year and all are unopposed. A quirk of Indiana law and the lawmaking process will keep them off this year's ballot.

House Enrolled Act No. 1242, an act to amend Indiana's election code, made it unlawful for a municipal election to be held if there is only one nominee for the office or there is no nominee for the office.

According to HEA 1242, Section 47, Subsection b:

An election may not be held for a municipal office if:

(1) there is only one nominee for the office or only one person has filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for the office under IC 3-8-2-2.5; and

(2) no person has filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for the office under IC 3-8-2-2.5 that results in a contest for election to the same municipal office.

The law further makes it a Class D felony for anyone to print a ballot not in accordance with the guidelines.

As such, Putnam County Clerk Marty Watts has every intention of abiding by the law, even if she doesn't agree with it.

"I know we're going to have a lot of people come in here and say, 'How come so-and-so is not on the ballot?'" Watts said.

Watts said it was actually an oversight that this portion of the act ever made it into law. The wording was incorrect in an early draft of the law and was not revised during the flurry of action that was the end of the 2011 legislative session.

The law does not affect general elections and will likely be changed before any future municipal races.

"The law is going to be revamped and revised," Watts said. "It will probably just be a problem for this year. They are going to change the wording."

For now the law stands. Watts will post a notice to voters at all polling places and will also make note of the issue in letters sent to absentee voters.

And with a strange and errant law in place for now, the record will forever show that nine Putnam County municipal officials won their 2012 elections without garnering a single vote.

On the other hand, each municipality in the county still has at least two contested races, so voters should still plan on turning out at the voting booth.



Teresa P. Glenn (D)

Lynda R. Dunbar (R)

Council Ward 3

Jinsie S. Bingham (D)

Jade Griffin (R)


Council Ward 1

Chuck McElwee (I)

David R. Crawley (I)

Council Ward 2

Bonnie L. Osborn (I)

Michael Lewis (I)

Jim Watson (I)

Council Ward 3

Richard D. Cope (I)

Joel Thompson (I)



Cheryl Galloway (R)

Laurie Monnett (I)

Council At-Large (Vote for 2)

Larry Fidler (R)

Cowetta Patton (R)

William David Lyon (I)

Council Ward 1

Cathy Tipton (I)

Gary E. Bennington (I)



Wanda Seidler (I)

Margaret E. Alexander (I)

Kari L. Bills (I)

Council Ward 1

James W. "Wes" Terhune (I)

Curt Leonard (I)



Martha Ann Louk (I)

Brian Matthew Lathrop (I)

Kristy Yack (I)

Kelly Marshall (I)

Council At-Large (Vote for 3)

William R. Long (I)

Jack Jones (I)

Barbara A. Scott (I)

Joe Cook (I)

Jim Cromwell (I)

Rick Kiefer (I)

Zach Bowers (I)



Sally Spencer McAfee (I)

D. Devon Davis (I)

Council At-Large (Vote for 3)

Jim Rodgers (I)

Don Reddish (I)

Norma Jean Gross (I)

Betty Joy Need (I)

Cathy Jones (I)

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  • "An election MAY not be held..." indicates that it is up to the discretion of the election board and County Clerk's office as to whether those unopposed candidate's names are on the ballot or not. If instead it had read that "an election SHALL not be held..." then it would be unlawful for those unopposed candidates names to appear on the ballot.

    -- Posted by gustave&zelma on Fri, Oct 7, 2011, at 11:05 AM
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