No outcomes were even close to being changed from the initial results—because there were a total of just 13 provisional ballots.
Provisional ballots are set aside, for various reasons—like a failure to show adequate ID, lack of voter registration, or trying to vote in the wrong polling location. Setting ballots aside means they’re not a part of the initial election vote totals, but could be added after their eventual adjudication by the election board.
Provisional ballots are adjudicated 10 days after the election. On Friday, 10 provisional ballots were rejected by the Monroe County election board.
Election board meeting on March 31, 2023 in the Nat U. Hill Room of Monroe County courthouse where the proceedings are displayed on screen with closed captions.
Monroe County election board members Donovan Garletts and Guy Loftman (serving as proxy for David Henry)
At its meeting last week, Monroe County’s election board voted to set a hearing for May 18 on the matter of Democrat David Wolfe Bender’s residency, as a Bloomington city council candidate for District 6.
This week on Friday, the board revised the list of specific Indiana state election laws that it wants to cite for its determination “that there is substantial reason to believe an election law violation has occurred.”
A list of four statutes that the board had previously cited was revised to two different laws that are the basis of the board’s determination:
A hearing on the matter of Democrat David Wolfe Bender’s residency, as a Bloomington city council candidate for District 6, has now been set by Monroe County’s election board for May 18.
The three-member board set the date on a unanimous vote taken at its Thursday meeting.
The date falls roughly two weeks after the May 2 primary election, which will undoubtedly make Bender the District 6 city council nominee for the Democratic Party. He’s the only candidate on the ballot.
But Bender previously conveyed through his attorney, an intent to withdraw as the District 6 nominee: “David [Wolfe Bender] has decided to withdraw his candidacy for Bloomington Common Council District 6.”
Bender’s name will appear on the primary ballot, because the questions about his residency, which were raised by an Indiana Daily Student article published on Feb. 17, 2023, did not come to light until after the Feb. 10 deadline for challenges to be made.
Assuming Bender does withdraw as the nominee after the primary, the Democratic Party could place an alternate candidate on the November 8 city election ballot.
Donovan Garletts, GOP appointee to Monroe County election board.
Map showing the address where David Wolfe Bender registered to vote.
David Henry, Democratic Party appointee to Monroe County election board.
Molly Turner-King, county attorney.
March 9, 2023 election board meeting.
“David [Wolfe Bender] has decided to withdraw his candidacy for Bloomington Common Council District 6.”
That’s the opening line of a letter received by Monroe County’s election board from Bender’s attorney, Manny Herceg, with the Taft-Jaffe law firm.
An Indiana University student, Bender is the sole Democrat for District 6 who appears on the May 2 primary election ballot. District 6 is centered around the university campus and downtown—its entire area is north of 3rd Street.
The letter was read aloud by Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne at Thursday afternoon’s meeting of the three-member election board.
The board’s meeting this Thursday was a continuation of its meeting last week, when the board started an investigation into whether Bender’s candidacy broke any election laws.
The investigation was based on a complaint made by vice chair of the Republican Party, William Ellis, which in turn was based on an Indiana Daily Student article published on Feb. 17, 2023.
From left: William Ellis, Donovan Garletts, and David Henry. Obscured from view by Ellis is Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne.
David Henry, Monroe County Democratic Party chair and interim election board member.
Donovan Garletts, Monroe County election board member.
William Ellis, vice chair of the Monroe County Republican Party.
Molly Turner-King, Monroe County attorney.
Map showing the address where David Wolfe Bender registered to vote.
The first step of a formal investigation into the residency status of Bloomington city council candidate David Wolfe Bender has now been taken.
At its regular meeting on Thursday, the three-member Monroe County election board voted unanimously on a motion that concluded that there is enough reason to believe that an election law has been violated, to set a hearing “at the earliest possible time” after witnesses have been notified they have to appear.
The board was acting Thursday on a complaint brought by Monroe County Republican Party vice chair William Ellis, which was based on an Indiana Daily Student article published on Feb. 17, 2023.
In a Thursday afternoon meeting that lasted about six and a half minutes, Monroe County’s three-member election board dispatched all the resolutions related to setting polling locations for the May 2 primary elections.
Hans Kelson, who was fined $75 for a late filing. (Feb. 2, 2023)
Monroe County election supervisor, Karen Wheeler, who resigned effective Feb. 3, 2023.
The new fine policy for late campaign finance filings.
At Monroe County’s election board meeting last Thursday, election supervisor Karen Wheeler announced she had resigned her position.
“Today will be my last election board meeting, since tomorrow is my last day as Monroe County election supervisor,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler read aloud some prepared remarks recounting her time serving as election supervisor, which included eight elections.
Chair of the three-member election board, Donovan Garletts, told Wheeler after her remarks, “I can probably say this on behalf of the current and past board members: Thank you for your service. And wish you the best.”
Wheeler had wrapped up her remarks by saying, “And I am hopeful that my next step will be to continue as a Monroe County employee.”
Immediately after the meeting, responding to a question from The B Square, Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne said that for Wheeler’s replacement, she did not yet have a name that she was able to share.
Later on Thursday, responding to a question from the B Square, Wheeler elaborated on her concluding statement at the meeting, by saying that her departure was voluntary, but only in the sense that she had resigned the position.
Wheeler added that she’d been given a choice by Browne—either resign or be “let go.”
View looking southwest from the top of the 4th Street parking garage. In the foreground is the former NAPA building.
NAPA building interior.
B Square file photo of early voting for the 2020 general election at Election Central.
B Square file photo of Election Central in the old Johnson Hardware building on the corner of 7th and Madison streets.
In 2022, Monroe County’s in-person early voting will take place at the former NAPA building on the southwest corner of 3rd and Walnut streets in downtown Bloomington. That’s for the the primary and general elections alike.
There’s still a chance that some early in-person ballots could also be cast at Election Central, in the old Johnson Hardware building at 7th and Madison streets. But that will depend on recruitment of enough election workers to staff both locations.
The use of the NAPA building as an in-person early voting location was approved by a unanimous vote of the county’s three-person election board at its Thursday session.
For the final two weeks of the four-week early voting period, Election Central could be added as an in-person location, but only if an adequate number of election workers can be recruited.
Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler called on potential poll workers to step up. Some past workers are now in their upper 80s or over 90 years old, she said. In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wheeler does not feel comfortable asking them to work this year.
Shruti Rana on screen at the Aug. 5, 2021 board of election meeting.
In this file photo from the third week of January 2020, Monroe County’s Election Central space is shown as it undergoes renovation.
The old Johnson Hardware building at 7th and Madison streets (aka Election Central).
At Thursday’s regular meeting of Monroe County’s election board, one of the highlights was a briefing from county clerk Nicole Browne on an upcoming conversation she’s requested with Monroe County’s three county commissioners.
The idea that Browne will be pitching to commissioners at next week’s Aug. 11 work session is one with a history stretching back over a half decade—more room for the elections division.
The elections division currently shares space with the probation department in the old Johnson Hardware building at Madison and 7th streets.
Based on the history of the topic, commissioners won’t be eager to allocate more space to the election division. They approved the funds for a renovation to the building in early 2020 that was, in part, supposed to relieve some of the need for additional space.
Joining her first meeting of the three-member election board on Thursday was Shruti Rana, who was picked to succeed Carolyn VandeWiel as the Democratic Party appointee. The board consists of a Democrat, a Republican (Hal Turner), and the current county clerk.