Voters who turn out this fall for municipal elections in Lafayette and West Lafayette will find some notable names missing from the ballot. Among them: Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski and City Clerk Cindy Murray, and West Lafayette Clerk-Treasurer Judy Rhodes.
They’re not dropping out of the races. Those candidates simply don’t have any opposition, so thanks to a new Indiana law, their names and offices will be removed from the ballot. They’re not too happy about it. And neither are local election officials, who are already making plans to deal with voters they expect will be confused by the blank spaces where names have traditionally been on ballots. The new state law says “an election may not be held for a municipal office if there is only one nominee for the office.”
That provision cleared the General Assembly this spring as part of a voluminous bill changing various election rules and procedures. It went into effect July 1. But it was only recently that local officials learned about it, and some officials are still trying to decode the rule.
Rhodes said she’s taken aback by the change.
“The idea that persons who are standing before the community for elected office become invisible on the ballot is a very surprising policy decision,” Rhodes said.