Ballots Possibly Cast In Wrong Precinct; Starke County Clerk to Seek State Advice


Elections in North Judson may have been affected after the Town failed to file a pair of ordinances with the Starke County Clerk’s office.

It was learned on Monday that an ordinance from 2001 outlining the annexation of land near North Judson, as well as an ordinance from 2012 redrawing election Wards, were filed with the Starke County Recorder’s office, but not the Clerk’s office. That means the changes are not recognized by the County until the ordinances are recertified.

Starke County Clerk Vicki Cooley says her offices simply don’t have the staff to chase down ordinance changes at the Town, Township, and County levels.

“Ordinances that are being recorded, we have no idea which ones that need to come over here,” says Cooley. “[Government bodies] need to follow the statute and see what would be the next step.”

Should there be contested races for the Municipal General Election on November 3rd, it’s a near certainty that “residents” of the annexed sections of North Judson will be unable to vote in the Town election. The school funding referendum, however, would be a separate issue, allowing them to cast a ballot.

Because the issue recently came to light, Cooley says she does not know at this time if those residing in the annexed sections of North Judson voted in Town elections prior to 2015.

A discussion is anticipated to take place between the Starke County Clerk’s office and the Indiana Secretary of State’s Election Division concerning how the issue may affect election results. Cooley says as soon as she has an opportunity to look into the matter, she will.

“I believe all the deadlines have passed already for any changes,” says Cooley. “But, again, that’s what I’m looking into for answers downstate.”

If a voter happened to cast a ballot in the wrong precinct, Indiana Code specifies the person must have done so knowingly to be subject to criminal penalties.

The Starke County Election Board anticipates reviewing the matter at their next meeting.