Jasper Mayor Recount Scheduled To Begin Monday; Here’s What To Expect

dasleben hausJASPER (NNDC) – If everything falls into place, the recount of the currently tied Jasper Mayoral election could begin Monday morning and it could also end Monday; if everything falls into place.

Dubois County Clerk Bridgette Jarboe says a commission is scheduled to convene Monday though an actual start time has not yet been set.

The November 3rd election resulted in current Mayor Terry Seitz, a Republican, and his Democratic challenger Wayne Schuetter, tied with 1,856 votes each. 190 votes were cast for independent candidate Joshua Budd.

What will happen Monday is a recount commission will be formally sworn-in by an appointed judge overseeing the recount. That judge is Dean Sobecki of Daviess County. The commission will then adopt the formal procedures for the recount including when the commission will reconvene once the recount is completed to verify the results.

The recount commission is made up of Merrill Osterman of Jasper (Republican appointee), Art Nordhoff, Jr. of Jasper (Democratic appointee), and Jefferson County Clerk Karen Mannix. The commission will not do the actual recounting of the ballots.

Attorney David Brooks, who represents Mayor Seitz, says the actual recount will be done by six individuals (yet to be named); three selected by each candidate.

The vote totals from this past November’s election have been certified by Jarboe. The counters will review voting machine totals as well as all the mail-in and travel board votes that were cast on paper ballots; a total of 245 according to Jarboe. There were 161 mail-in ballots and 84 cast with the travel board.

Once the recount is complete, any disputed ballots from the recount will then be reviewed by the reconvened commission. The commission will then decide on the validity of any disputed ballot. The commission will then vote on the final recount totals. The commission could reconvene later on Monday. State statute says the recount must be completed by Sunday, December 20th.

State statute says if the election remains a tie after the recount, determining who is the Mayor of Jasper will then be decided by the current Jasper City Council. Currently, the council is made up of four Democrats and three Republicans; the majority shifts 4-3 to the GOP after January 1st. The city council must vote by December 31st.

NewsNow Dubois County has learned that there can be a legal challenge to a local election recount. A hearing to challenge any disputed ballots discarded resulting in a winner of an election could be filed with the state court of appeals in Indianapolis. Those close to the recount, including Brooks, say they don’t recall any local election challenge in Indiana going before the appeals court.

State statute does allow a candidate or a county party chairman to file with the courts a petition for a “special election,” or a new election.

Also, if for any reason, a winner is not determined by January 1st, state statute says the incumbent (Seitz) will remain in office for as long as it takes for any disputes, legal or otherside, to be reconciled.

Today, both Seitz and Schuetter are in Indianapolis, along with Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner. All three are taking part in what is called “Mayors School” hosted by the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT) every four years following a municipal election.

According to its website, IACT conducts the Mayors School (formally known as Newly Elected Officials Training) to provide basic information and tools for city and town officials, helping both newly-elected and even incumbents, prepare for their upcoming terms.

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