In a surprise turn of events, the Vigo County Election Board called another emergency meeting which was conducted today, Monday, October 10th, to reconsider their previous decision, made during yesterday’s emergency meeting, to not reformat this years election ballots.
During yesterday’s meeting John Kesler, the Democratic appointee to the election board, read a letter he had received from both party chairs expressing their desire that the ballots be changed, but when Kesler made a motion to vote on the change Brad Newman, the Vigo County Clerk, and Brian Garcia, the Republican appointee refused to second the motion.
In less than 24 hours, the Republican party chairman, Randy Gentry, sent a letter to the County Clerk asking that Garcia be removed from the board and Jerry Arnold, the former associate Republican, be instated as the new appointee.
In a unanimous vote, which can be viewed on the Vigo County Clerk’s Facebook page, the board decided to change the ballot formatting so that all candidates for a local position can be seen on the same screen.
Concerns were first raised last week when tests run on the county’s voting machines revealed that for at least two prominent races the name of only one candidate appeared on the screen. Voters would have to scroll down to see the names of other candidates, which could cause confusion.
In both circumstances the name appearing on the initial screen was the Republican candidate. In a Facebook post made by Brad Newman and posted on the County Clerk’s Facebook page, he claimed that citizens were “politicizing the issue” and he would not allow them to “hijack the election.”
After receiving wide spread public criticism for their actions, it appears, at the time of this articles publication, the Vigo County Clerk’s office has disabled comments on their Facebook page.
There had been previous concerns raised when Newman, who also serves as a full-time Terre Haute Police Officer, claimed, during an election board meeting, that a local Democratic candidate, Todd Boland, was under investigation for intimidating his opponent. It was later revealed by public records requests that Newman’s claims were false.