2015-07-23 / Front Page

Filing Deadline Drawing Near For ‘15 Town Elections In Gosport, Spencer

Staff Report

As of Wednesday, only four candidates had filed for ballot positions in the upcoming 2015 municipal elections in the towns of Gosport and Spencer.

Each of the four elected positions in each town are up for election; three seats on the town council and the post of town clerk-treasurer. To date, current Spencer Town Councilwoman Cynthia Hyde (D), Spencer Clerk-Treasurer Cheryl Moke (D), Gosport Clerk-Treasurer Donnie Hall (R) and newcomer Elizabeth Correll (D) have each filed declarations of candidacy. Correll is seeking the position of clerk-treasurer for the Town of Gosport.

Both towns have made plans to conduct their own elections, as opposed to working through the Owen County Clerk’s Office for the Tuesday, November 3 general election. The Town of Spencer passed a local ordinance in February to establish the council as the town election board, as did the Town of Gosport in recent weeks.

With neither chairman of the two major political parties residing within town limits, proxies Anton Karl Neff (D) and Brittany Hogan (R) will fill the roles for Owen County Democratic Party Chairman Frank Coffin and Owen County Republican Party Chairwoman Patty Steward and organize their respective party’s committees in the town of Spencer. No proxies have been designated for the Town of Gosport.

Political hopefuls have until noon on Monday, August 3, to file a declaration of candidacy.

Neither municipality will utilize a primary election to narrow down the field for the general election, instead opting to hold town conventions.

The two chairmen are responsible for setting a town convention, typically held at their respective headquarters. A convention, though, will only be needed if more than the required number of candidates to fill the vacant offices have filed to run. Conventions must be held no later than Friday, August 21. Conventions are held if there is more than one candidate filing from the same party for the same office.

To be nominated, candidates must receive a majority of votes cast by voters present and voting at a convention. No portion of the law permits a candidate to be nominated form the floor of a town convention.

Registered voters of a town may attend and vote at their party’s convention. The county election board will provide the secretary of each convention with a list of the town’s voters, which must state the date an individual became a voter of the town, if the individual became a voter the same year the convention is being held. The voter must comply with any other requirement for determining political party affiliation. The voter must register with the secretary of the town convention. A voter may not cast a ballot at more than one party’s convention. Proxy and absentee voting is not permitted for a convention.

Voter registration is currently open and will remain open until the close of business in the county clerk’s office on Monday, October 5.

Spencer has chosen to use paper ballots for voting in an effort to save election funds. Proxy or absentee voting is not allowed at a town convention.

In the event the deadline passes with no candidates filing for an office up for election in 2015, which includes all elected offices for both towns, the town does not have to hold an election. According to Article 15, section 3 of the Indiana Constitution, current office holders would serve another fouryear term.

All candidate filings and voter registrations are to be made with the Owen County Clerk’s Office, located on the second floor of the Owen County Courthouse. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the office at 812-829-5015.

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