In New Haven, Voters Would Not Have Been Allowed To Vote In Two Polling Locations

Unopposed Candidates Almost Kicked Off Ballot In Allen County

By John W. Davis

September 22, 2011 Updated Sep 22, 2011 at 10:08 PM EST

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Just because no one is running against you, does not mean your name should not be on the ballot.

That's the word from the Allen County Election Board.

It is a ruling that actually breaks a new state law.

On July 1, a new state law went into effect that said, uncontested candidates are not allowed to be placed on ballots.

If the state law was followed, unopposed candidates in New Haven and Fort Wayne would not have their names on the ballots.

The new law was intended to save money.

In fact, Allen County Director of Elections Beth Dlug said the new law would save $1,500 by closing two polling locations.

But Dlug said it is not worth it.

"At this point, we decided it really was not about the money. It was more about what's the best for the voters," Dlug reasoned.

Allen County Election Board members said if they actually followed the new law, several thousand people in New Haven would not be allowed to vote because New Haven's Mayor, Clerk-Treasurer and the 2nd and 4th district City Council members are running in uncontested races.

That would have meant people who voted at the New Haven Library and Emmanuel Lutheran Church would not have been allowed to vote, because their races are practically already decided.

"People would be showing up on election day and be really really confused. The court ruled that it needs to be on there, so we're going to go with that," said Allen County Election Board Democratic Member Andrew Boxberger.

Meanwhile, the Allen County Election Board said they have legal precedence to back up their decision.

They said a judge in Wayne County (Richmond, Indiana) ruled that the new law was invalid.

Allen County election leaders said that was all the precedence they needed because the right to vote is of the utmost importance.

"Items of confusion are numerous. You're exactly right. You're going to have people going to the polls. You're gonna have people calling saying I wanna vote, why can't I vote and we're going to tell them that their candidate that they want to vote for is unopposed," said Allen County Election Board Republican Member Zach Klutz.

"But certainly people still want to vote for the unopposed to show a sign of support so we've avoided that today (Thursday, September 15), the candidates will be on the ballot," Klutz concluded.

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Indiana's NewsCenter has spoken to New Haven Mayor Republican Terry McDonald numerous times about this issue.

McDonald is running unopposed in the General Election which will be held on Tuesday, November 8.

McDonald said he wanted his name on the ballot.

He said that if the law was enforced, it could lead to people feeling like their votes do not matter.




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