Thursday, August 29, 2019

Media Advisory: Hearing on Independent Indianapolis Mayoral Candidate's Exclusion from the Ballot

Date:               Thursday (Today), August 29, 2019

Time:               Beginning at 2 p.m. (Each side is allotted ½ hour)

Location:         Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse, 46 E. Ohio St, Indianapolis, IN, Courtroom 344

Contact Person:        Paul K. Ogden
                                    317-728-6084 (cell phone)
                                    317-297-9720 (home office

            On Tuesday, November 5, 2019, Indianapolis voters will go to the polls to elect a Mayor to serve for the next four years.  As things stand now, Indianapolis voters will be limited to casting a vote for Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett or his Republican challenger State Senator Jim Merritt.

            Businessman John Schmitz felt Indianapolis voters should have more options than the Democratic and Republican nominee, which two candidates were hand-picked by party bosses during endorsement conventions proceeding the primary.  Schmitz filed to run as an independent candidate
John Schmitz
for Mayor.  To qualify for the ballot, Indiana law requires that Schmitz obtain signatures of a certain percentage of Marion County registered voters.  Working tirelessly, Schmitz and his campaign team obtained 8,295 signatures of Indianapolis voters on petitions submitted to the Clerk’s Office. 

            The Marion County Democratic and Republican parties though have a long history of using Indiana’s petition requirement to exclude candidates and limit the right of Indianapolis voters to choose someone other than Democrats and Republican candidates preferred by party bosses.  Schmitz experienced this first-hand when the Marion County Election Board[1] voted 3-0 to disallow thousands of voter signatures Schmitz had obtained, leaving him 749 short of the required 6,106 signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot.

            Schmitz, through his attorney Mark Small, filed for relief with the Southern District of Indiana.  (See attached “Complaint and Request for Preliminary Injunction”.)  Today, at 2 pm, Judge Tanya Walton-Pratt will be conducting a hearing on Schmitz’s request for injunctive relief, i.e. to be placed back on the ballot.

             Marion County party bosses should not be permitted to use Indiana’s petition requirement to exclude candidates from the ballot and limit voter choices.  Indianapolis voters deserve better.  The hearing today presents a very important principle that is a matter of considerable public concern and interest.  I hope you will consider attending the hearing and covering the issue.

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[1] In Indiana, county election boards have three voting members, including the County Clerk and an appointee of the county Democratic and Republican chairman.


Kevin said...

Paul, is the hearing August 29th or September 29th? The top part of your post says September and the bottom part says August.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Kevin, yep that should have been August. That's what I get writing these things when I'm sleepy. I fixed it.