Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Law Change Means Easy November for Some Candidates

What does it mean to get elected? In Indiana, in some elections, it means less than it used to.

Due to a change in state law during the 2010 General Assembly Session, if you are an unopposed candidate in a municipal election outside Marion County, then no one needs to show up to vote for you on November 8. You are, essentially, appointed.

From the Indiana Code:
IC 3-10-7-6
Municipal office elections; time; restrictions
Sec. 6. (a) A municipal election conducted under this chapter shall be held at the time prescribed by IC 3-10-6.
(b) This subsection applies to a municipal office elected during a municipal or general election. An election may not be held for a municipal office if:
(1) there is only one (1) nominee for the office or only one (1) person has filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for the office under IC 3-8-2-2.5; and
(2) no person has filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for the office under IC 3-8-2-2.5 that results in a contest for election to the same municipal office.
As added by P.L.5-1986, SEC.6. Amended by P.L.11-1987, SEC.4; P.L.4-1991, SEC.56; P.L.8-1992, SEC.13; P.L.3-1995, SEC.89; P.L.4-1996, SEC.53; P.L.14-2004, SEC.86; P.L.225-2011, SEC.48.

There’s something wrong with that, to me. Sure, it does add some extra cost to print ballots and go through the motions of an election, but the act of someone going to the polls on Election Day and casting at least one ballot to elect someone seems to be the way the electoral process should work. There’s something unseemly to me to be “appointed” to an office where you should have been elected, and that’s essentially what happened when this new law passed.

To all those that stand unopposed for election, congratulations on your win. To all Indiana voters, sadly, your voice was usurped by your state government.

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