The Starke County Clerk’s office will continue attempts to receive confirmation regarding an issue that may have affected past elections.
During Monday’s Starke County Election Board meeting, recertified ordinances from the Town of North Judson were considered. The Town felt it necessary to bring annexation and ward map issues back from 2001 and 2012 after the ordinances were improperly certified. The error could make the annexation and ward map changes invalid.
Board member Dan Bridegroom says the there are multiple places an ordinance must be certified.
“The auditor’s office, the clerk’s office, the state of Indiana,” says Bridegroom. “Those are the three places. Once it’s done with that, it will come back to [the clerk’s office] with a certification of new people, then the maps change. We can’t change that map.”
Apart from questioning the responsibility of the Election Board in the annexation matter, those present during Monday’s meeting agreed it was necessary to understand how the annexation was affecting the voting public in North Judson.
While it remains clear the ordinances were improperly certified, the Starke County Clerk’s office had, prior to the issue surfacing, made the changes to the Statewide Voter Registration System maps. North Judson residents are thought by the Board to be correctly mapped as a result. That means that so long as the annexation is viewed as valid, the Clerk’s office believes no voting rights were denied, or illegally allowed.
State statute indicates that just because an ordinance certification was not successfully completed, it does not necessarily invalidate the annexation. That issue is what the Town of North Judson and the Starke County Clerk’s office are working to confirm.
Starke County Clerk Vicki Cooley says that somewhere along the line, the map change was likely made from the Clerk’s office.
“It wasn’t maybe recorded or put actually on some of the mappings that it should have, but it was changed in the system,” says Cooley. “There have been no provisional ballots that have been requested, these people did vote.”
As things stand, the Starke County Clerk’s office believes residents in the annexed portions of North Judson from 2001 are still allowed to vote this November.