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Judge dismisses case seeking ballot access for independent mayoral candidate in November



Bloomington, Indiana – Joe Davis, an independent candidate for mayor of Bloomington, filed a lawsuit on October 5 disputing the disqualification of the signatures he gathered to be included on the ballot for the general election in November, but it was denied by Monroe County Circuit Court Special Judge Luke Rudisill.

Davis wanted the Monroe County Election Board to reconsider the more than 200 invalid signatures he had gathered so they could be included on the ballot in November, but the board denied his request in July. He was 14 signatures short of the 352 needed by state law to be included on the ballot due to the invalidated signatures. Due to the fact that many of these signatures were from persons whose voter registration was still pending, they were not accepted.

According to Indiana code, a person who just updated or registered to vote is considered a pending voter and must wait seven days for their registration to be approved.

Rejecting these signatures, according to Davis, disenfranchises voters, including some who had placed their residences at Bloomington’s Shalom Community Center, a day shelter and resource center. Davis made this claim during the July Monroe County Election Board meeting. During this discussion, Davis claimed to have assisted unregistered residents in completing voter registration forms.

A few weeks after the board decided unanimously to deny Davis’ request for a reevaluation, Davis filed the complaint in August. According to court records, Davis filed the case against the Indiana Election Division, Monroe County Voter Registration Office, and Secretary of State Diego Morales.

Davis stated in the lawsuit that his state and federal constitutional rights had been violated by being denied the ability to cast a ballot. Additionally, he said that the Indiana Code, which upholds the seven-day waiting period for pending voters, is unconstitutional and too onerous.

Rudisill did state in his ruling, nonetheless, that Davis’s case was untenable.

“The state has a legitimate interest in protecting the integrity of elections, which includes verifying voter registration applications. The statute is not discriminatory, and it is rationally related to the State’s interest in protecting the integrity of election,” Rudisill said in the ruling. “Moreover, Plaintiff was not deprived of the right to vote via this process, so he lacks standing to make a constitutional claim other than insofar as his rights were deprived.”

Additionally, Rudisill said that he thought Davis was unaware of the voter registration and verification procedure and that his own mistake was the reason his nomination petition was denied.
Kerry Thomson, the Democratic nominee for mayor, will be the only contestant on the November ballot.















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