Election notebook: Candidates inspect ballot proofs

On Friday for most of the day, 190 different ballot types for the May 3 primary elections were on display for review by the candidates at Monroe County’s election central.

That’s the office in the old Johnson Hardware building at 7th and Madison streets.

The B Square counted 28 candidates or their proxies who inspected ballots on Friday. That’s just 16 percent of the 172 total candidate names that will appear on ballots in Monroe County. It’s not a legal requirement that candidates inspect the ballot.

But it is a requirement of state law that ballot proofs be made available for inspection before they’re printed [IC 3-11-2-2.1]

It’s a chance for candidates to help catch misspellings of their own names before the ballots get printed.

The email message to candidates sent by Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler begged them to stop by and check over the ballots: “So I will implore you to come and review. This is the time to catch anything that may be wrong.”

It’s not an infallible system. For the 2018 general election, Eric Spoonmore’s name appeared in his uncontested race for county council with an extra “o”.

In the course of the day Friday, chairs for both the Democrats (David Henry) and Republicans (Taylor Bryant) dropped by election central, but not at the same time.

Separately, Henry and Bryant were floated an idea by former Bloomington city clerk Regina Moore. The two parties should use the same political boundaries for their state convention delegates. Currently, the Democrats use county council boundaries, while the Republicans use county commissioner boundaries.

Moore, a Democrat, was there to check her name as it appears on the ballot as a candidate for precinct chair in Perry 15. Also a candidate for that seat is Don Griffin, the current deputy mayor of Bloomington.

Later on Friday evening, the state election commission made a decision that will affect the ballot for some Monroe County voters: Commissioners upheld a residency challenge to Myra Kinser’s candidacy in the Republican primary for the District 62 state house seat. That means Kinser’s name will not appear on the Republican primary ballot. That makes the Republican primary contest between Dave Hall and Greg (No Bull) Knott.

For the Democratic Party’s nomination to the District 62 seat, it will be Brad Swain and Penny Githens who appear on the ballot.

Relevant background for Knott’s nickname is that Indiana state law [IC 3-5-7-4.1 and IC 3-10-1-14.1] allows a candidate to use a nickname on the ballot. But there are some limitations. The nickname has to be a name by which the candidate is commonly known and cannot be longer than 20 characters.

An example of one of the ballots available for inspection on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 at election central.

Knott reportedly survived a challenge for his nickname when he ran for the 9th District Congressional seat in 2010 as a Libertarian. In any case, his name appeared on the ballot that year with his nickname.

In recent memory, a nickname challenge that was upheld was that of “Teaparty Trenton Feuerbach” when he filed as a candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination, for the 9th District. The election commission concluded in 2014 that Feuerbach was not commonly known as “Teaparty” and disallowed that name on the ballot.

The incumbent representative for District 62 is Republican Jeff Ellington. But in 2022, he is running in District 45—he changed his residency to run in that district, after redistricting.

On Friday, Ellington survived a challenge to his candidacy in District 45 based on residency. The state election commission concluded that Ellington met the residency requirement.

Photos: Election Central ballot inspection, Monroe County (Feb. 18, 2022)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One thought on “Election notebook: Candidates inspect ballot proofs

Leave a Reply