Filing deadline passes with no independent candidates for Bloomington mayor on the ballot

At Monroe County’s election headquarters at the intersection of 7th and Madison streets, election supervisor Karen Wheeler spoke with The Beacon around quarter to noon on Monday. Up to then, she said, no independent candidates for Bloomington mayor had turned in the minimum 522 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

A short while later, after confirming the clock read 12:01, Wheeler declared the deadline expired. cropped election registration sign 20190701_115854

Write-in candidates have until noon Wednesday, July 3, to file their paperwork.

The Republican Party is not fielding a candidate for mayor.

That means if no candidate registers as a write-in for the mayor’s race, incumbent John Hamilton is certain to serve as mayor for another four years, starting in 2020, even though no vote for that office will be held.

If no candidate registers as a write-in for any of the other citywide posts, that will mean no elections on Nov. 5 for most of the city of Bloomington, according to Wheeler.

The three at-large council seats are still uncontested. The clerk’s race also has only one candidate.  Four of six city council districts, with just one candidate apiece, also do not yet have races requiring an election.

Barring any write-in candidates, elections would be held only in District 2 and District 3, Wheeler told The Beacon.

In District 2, Republican Andrew Guenther was unopposed in the Republican Party’s primary for the city council nomination. He’ll appear on the ballot along with Sue Sgambelluri, who won the three-way Democratic Party primary over Daniel Bingham and incumbent Dorothy Granger.

In District 3, Ron Smith won the Democratic Party primary over Jim Blickensdorf. He’ll appear on the ballot with independents Nick Kappas and Marty Spechler. Kappas and Spechler had to collect at least 89 signatures to qualify.

The required number of signatures for independents varies by city council district, because it depends on the number of ballots cast in last year’s general election. The signature requirement is 2 percent of the number of ballots cast in the secretary of state’s race. Voting in that race in District 2 last year were 4,417 people. That works out to 88.34 signatures, which gets rounded up to 89.

That’s also how the figure of 522 signatures is calculated for independent mayoral candidates. Citywide, 26,052 ballots were cast in the secretary of state’s race. Two percent  of that is 521.04, which is 522, after rounding up. (Signature requirements for the other five districts are: District 1, 86; District 2, 65; District 4, 119; District 5, 111; and District 6, 47.)

Write-in candidates do not need to collect signatures.

It’s allowed for major parties to “caucus in” candidates to fill vacancies on the ballot, if candidate runs in the primary. Guenther was the only Republican candidate to file as a candidate any in his party’s Bloomington primary. According to Monroe County’s election supervisor, Karen Wheeler, the Republican Party did not hold a such a caucus, which had a deadline of noon Sunday, June 30. Guenther confirmed for The Beacon that no Republican Party caucus was held for that purpose.

Barring write-in candidates, incumbent Democrat John Hamilton would serve another four-year term as mayor, starting in 2020, and incumbent Democrat Nicole Bolden would serve another term as city clerk.

Barring write-in candidates, District 1 would be served for the next four years starting in 2020 by Kate Rosenbarger, who won a three-way primary for the Democratic Party’s nomination over Denise Valkyrie and incumbent Chris Sturbaum.

District 4 would be served by incumbent Dave Rollo, who won the Democratic Party primary over Miah Michaelsen.

District 5 would be served by incumbent Isabel Piedmont-Smith, who won the Democratic Party primary over Ryan Maloney.

District 6 would be served by incumbent Steven Volan, who was unopposed in the Democratic Party primary.

The three at-large city council seats would be served by incumbent Susan Sandberg, incumbent Jim Sims, and Matt Flaherty, who were the top three vote getters in the Democratic Party’s primary. That race included Vauhxx Booker, Jean Capler, and incumbent Andy Ruff.

Potential independent mayoral candidate Nile Arena collected 23 pages worth of signatures, according to election supervisor, Karen Wheeler. At 10 signatures per page that works out to no more than 230, falling short of the 522 signatures needed.

Wheeler said Arena turned in what he’d collected, fully aware that it would not be enough. Wheeler said she contacted the Indiana Election Division to confirm that her office did not need to perform the exercise of confirming that the submitted signatures were registered voters in the city.

Outside Taste of Bloomington on June 22, The Beacon saw volunteers for Andrew Manson who were collecting signatures to put him on the ballot for mayor. But Wheeler said her office didn’t receive any other signatures from potential mayoral candidates.

If elections are held only in Districts 2 and 3, that would require just nine polling stations, compared to the 21 that would be needed for a citywide election, according to Wheeler. Between them Districts 2 and 3 have 13 precincts, but some locations combine precincts.

Each polling station gets staffed with an election inspector, two judges and two clerks apiece for each of the poll books, Wheeler said. And each polling station is equipped with at least two poll books, for minimum staff of seven per station.

Election judges and clerks are paid per day at a rate of $135; the inspector is paid $165. They all get a meal allowance of $25. The total compensation for judges, clerks and inspectors for a  citywide election would be at least $20,475, based on minimum staffing for each of 21 polling stations. That compares to $8,775 for the nine polling stations that would be used for elections, if they there held just in Districts 2 and 3, a difference of almost $12,000.