Map showing the address where David Wolfe Bender registered to vote.
Sworn in at the start of the May 18, 2023 hearing are Justin Fox (left), landlord of the property where David Wolfe Bender (right) the landlord of the property (Justin Fox) where Bender says he signed a sublease .
From left: Monroe County election board members Donovan Garletts and John Fernandez. (May 18, 2023)
From left: Monroe County attorney Jeff Cockerill, election supervisor Jessica Brown, and deputy clerk Tressia Martin (May 18, 2023).
David Wolfe Bender addresses the Monroe County election board (May 18, 2023).
Monroe County election board from left: County clerk Nicole Browne, Donovan Garletts, and John Fernandez (May 18, 2023).
David Wolfe Bender’s name was the only one that appeared on the May 2 Democratic Party’s primary for the Bloomington city council’s District 6 seat.
So Bender is currently the party’s nominee for that council position. All other things being equal, he will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot as the party’s nominee.
But on Thursday, Monroe County’s three-member election board voted unanimously to refer two potential felony election law violations by Bender to county prosecutor Erika Oliphant. The vote came after a hearing that lasted around an hour and 20 minutes.
It was election board member John Fernandez who made the motion to refer the matter to the prosecutor, saying, “I just think we ought to, frankly, just move this process along—without any kind of prejudice one way or another.”
Fernandez added that he wanted to “go ahead and recommend this over to the prosecutor’s office so that they can make that judgment and let this young man get on with his life, if that’s the determination.”
Bender had previously said—through his Taft-Jaffe attorney—that he intends to withdraw as the Democratic Party’s nominee after the May 2 primary. His name appears on the ballot as the sole candidate for the District 6 nomination, because no challenge to his eligibility was made in a timely way.
No Republican declared a primary candidacy for District 6 city council.
But Bender’s April 6 letter says, “I write this letter to clearly communicate that I no longer intend to withdraw my candidacy from this election.” Bender’s letter continues, “If the voters see fit to elect me as the next Councilmember for Bloomington’s Sixth District, then I believe I am fully able, willing, and indeed eager to serve.”
One limited measure of how much support candidates have among voters is the amount and range of financial contributions to their campaigns so far.
For the 2022 election season in the state of Indiana, pre-primary campaign finance forms were due at noon last Monday, April 18. Those forms are supposed to cover donations and expenditures for the period between Jan. 1, 2022 and April 8, 2022.
The B Square took a look at some of the early campaign finance filings by candidates in four Monroe County races— county commissioner; sheriff; circuit court judge; and recorder.
Those are races that have contested primaries this year for the Democratic Party.
The winner of those races will face a Republican Party candidate in the fall. None of the four races are contested in the Republican Party’s primary. The B Square has included Republican candidates in this roundup, which is compiled in a shared Google Sheet, with links to individual filings.
The 17 candidates in the four races have raised a combined total of around $115,000.
Counting money raised last year, six candidates for sheriff have raised a combined total of $58,000. The five candidates for judge have raised a combined total of around $28,000. The three candidates for county commissioner have raised a combined total of around $22,300. And the three candidates for county recorder have raised a combined total of around $7,000. Continue reading “Monroe County campaign finance: 4 races, 17 candidates, $115K”→
Looking north with the election operations building on the left and the new parking garage in the background.
The hand of Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne, after she voted. She’s running unopposed for re-election.
The trademark blue former NAPA building at 3rd and Walnut streets, just south of the new parking garage and west of the downtown transit center, is the new home to Monroe County’s voting operations.
Tuesday was the first day of in-person early voting for the May 3 primary elections.
At 8 o’clock sharp, Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne emerged from the front door to perform the ritual that marked the start of the voting day.
Browne raised her voice to the overcast sky: “Hear ye, hear ye, the polls are now open!”
In the first half hour of voting, only a handful of voters cast a ballot. By then, light rain was falling on the few candidates and volunteers who had come to canvas the early voters.
By around 4 p.m., the count of early voters had reached just 58. For the general election in 2020, Monroe County averaged more than 1,000 early in-person voters a day. It’s not surprising that interest in the primary elections, between presidential election years, is comparatively lower.
In under two and a half minutes at its Feb. 16 meeting, Bloomington’s city council approved eight appointments to the city’s historic preservation commission (HPC).
Abstaining on the vote were Dave Rollo and Ron Smith, who both said that they’d received such late notice of the proposed appointments that they could not vote.
Rollo put it like this: “I haven’t had adequate time to review these applicants.”
Not getting a mention at the council’s meeting was the fact that seven of the people who were voted on that night had already been serving on the commission, one of them for more than two years—without the approval of the city council.
That’s a violation of state statute and local code.
Note: “Hey Wait a Minute” is an occasional B Square Beacon series that highlights meeting minutes and other documentation of local government meetings in the Bloomington, Indiana area.
At the most recent meeting of Bloomington’s city council, on July 31, councilmember Allison Chopra offered some candid commentary on the length of the meeting.
Chopra said in part: “…it’s 9:45 p.m. I am leaving this meeting at 10:30, regardless of how long it goes, because I need to sleep at night. … There is absolutely no reason why we should be having a meeting that lasts more than four hours …”
The criticism that councilmember Chopra expressed at the meeting—of her colleagues and herself—was serious business. I think it’s worth watching Chopra’s remarks as she made them, in their entirety.