Schuetter won’t appeal recount ruling

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

JASPER — Wayne Schuetter decided to not file an appeal for the recount that broke a tie in the Jasper mayoral race.

“I’ve talked to numerous attorneys about possible appeals,” Schuetter said this morning. “I was told that it would be very difficult to get a favorable ruling for a special election and it would take a great deal of time and resources. I don’t have those kind of resources, and I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the city.”

He said some procedures for handling ballots should be reviewed. Schuetter will discuss the situation at a press conference scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Jasper Train Depot.

Schuetter had until Thursday to file an appeal of the recount commission’s decision.

The Nov. 3 race for Jasper mayor ended with Democrat candidate Schuetter and Republican incumbent Terry Seitz each receiving 1,856 votes and independent candidate Joshua Budd receiving 190 votes.

Seitz filed a lawsuit Nov. 16 in Dubois Circuit Court for a recount of ballots in the race and also for the option of holding a special election. Daviess Superior Court Judge Dean A. Sobecki presided over the suit.

The recount process with the commission began Monday, Dec. 14, after the recount commission was sworn in. Six people selected as counters went through the precincts’ tallies to make sure the machine and absentee votes were counted accurately. Four votes were flagged; three of those votes came before the recount commission.

On Friday, Dec. 18, the recount commission decided with a 2-1 vote that an absentee vote for Schuetter would not be counted. Commission members Merrill Osterman and Karen Mannix said the ballot was not valid because it had not been initialed by two members of the county clerk’s office, which is required by state code. One member of the commission, Art Nordhoff, said that the vote should count because it was not the voter’s fault that the ballot was not initialed.
The change left the final vote total 1,856-1,855 in Seitz’s favor.

The recount commission’s decision was filed Monday, Dec. 21. On that date, Schuetter held a press conference to propose that an election be held within the first two weeks of January to decide the race instead. Seitz declined the proposal that afternoon, stating that there was no legal precedent for holding a special election.

With the commission’s decision being filed Dec. 21, Schuetter had until Thursday, Jan. 21, to file an appeal.

The only action since the Dec. 21 filing has been Judge Sobecki dismissing the special election option Jan. 4 and Schuetter last week requesting a copy of audio recording of the recount hearing.




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