Nine Republicans kicked off county ballot

September 1, 2018 GMT

La PORTE — Nine Republicans hoping to run for township board positions in La Porte County will not be allowed on the ballot in the November election.

The La Porte County Election Board voted 2-1 Thursday not to certify the candidacy of any of the nine hopefuls, citing their failure, and that of the La Porte County Republican Party, to file candidacy paperwork by state-mandated deadlines.

County Clerk Kathy Chroback said the Republican Party held a June 16 caucus, at which they gave the party’s executive committee – made up of the chairman, vice chair, secretary and treasurer – the authority to appoint candidates to fill vacant spots on the ballot.

That executive committee then met on June 27 to appoint candidates for township board positions.

Chroback said the Republican Party had to file a CAN-30 form with her office at least 10 days prior to that June 27 caucus, but failed to do so.

“We had heard they were holding a caucus, but we didn’t know for sure because they never filed a CAN-30 form with us,” she said.

James E. Kimmel, chairman of the La Porte County Democratic Party and the person who filed the challenges, said the individual candidates also missed the June 24 deadline to file their CAN-31 forms, and and June 27 deadline to file their statements of economic interest. The complaint specifies documents were late by 2-9 days.

“I think (the outcome of the hearing) is good, not just for the Democratic Party, but for the democratic process – of our state, of our country and of our county,” Kimmel said Friday. “It’s about the process and about doing the right thing and doing what Indiana law states. They did not do what the law states; they did not follow the process and procedures.”

The election board consists of Democrats Chroback and Amber Poff, and Republican Andrew Voeltz.

Republican Party Chairman Mitch Feikes was not at the meeting because he is out of town; but upon learning Friday of the outcome, correctly assumed the 2-1 vote was split along party lines.

“The Democrats are scared that we’re going to beat them in the election,” Feikes said. “They’re going to do everything they can to make sure we’re going to lose and they’re going to win.”

Republican vice chair Coral Laun attended the hearing, but did not respond to requests for comment Friday. Voeltz also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“When I was selected and caucused in as the (Democratic) county chairman in February or March of last year … one of the first orders of business was for the precinct chairs to give me the authority to fill the vacant ballot slots,” Kimmel said.

“By the Republican Party not doing that and not giving sole authority to Mr. Mitch Feikes, that means the June 27 Republican meeting where they gave authority to the executive committee was a caucus – making those forms and those deadlines become necessary.”

“Laws are written for a reason,” Chroback said. “There are rules and guidelines you have to follow, and I’m pretty much a stickler for that. … (Filing the CAN-30) is the first step in holding a caucus, which is outlined in the election laws, so we elected not to accept it.”

She said Laun told her Friday she was unaware of the specific filing deadlines.

“They didn’t realize, but that’s something you’re supposed to know when you’re in their positions,” Chroback said.

The Republicans have a short window to appeal the candidacy rejections. The ballot will be finalized around Sept. 10, and the first absentee ballots mailed on Sept. 22.

Scratched from ballot

These nine township board candidates, all Republicans, will not appear on the November ballot because they failed to turn in candidacy paperwork on time

• Debra Allie - Noble Township

• William Greene III - Michigan Township

• Melinda Jaycox - Hudson Township

• Timothy Jaycox - Hudson Township

• Rick Moore - Clinton Township

• Deborah Vance - Michigan Township

• Jerry Wilkinson - Hudson Township

• Ilene Zona - Springfield Township

• Paul Zona - Springfield Township