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 …., 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.”