New Judge Picked In Mayoral Race

A special judge selected to oversee the court case involving a recount in the election for the office of Mayor of Jasper has agreed to preside over the suit and has been sworn in.

Daviess County Superior Court Judge Dean Sobecki has now officially taken over the case replacing Dubois Circuit Court Judge Nathan Verkamp.

Back on November 3rd Republican Incumbent Mayor Terry Seitz and Democratic challenger Wayne Schuetter finished the night in a deadlock with both men receiving exactly 1856 votes apiece and a percentage of 47.57 percent of the vote.

Independent candidate Joshua Budd finished this years election with a total of 190 tallies.

On Nov. 16 Seitz, filed a suit in Dubois Circuit Court asking for a recount.   

Immediately afterwards his attorneys David Brooks and Samantha DeWester of Indianapolis requested a new judge be appointed to replace Verkamp.

An agreement  between Seitz and Schuetter was reached last Tuesday November 24th naming Sobecki to serve as the special judge handling the recount of the mayoral election results. Sobecki did not immediately accept the appointment.

With a special judge now in place, Seitz, has requested a pre-recount conference, which would include everyone involved in the lawsuit.  That includes Seitz, Schuetter, Budd and members of the Dubois County Election Board.

The recount will be conducted through the validation and re-tabulation of votes by a three-member recount commission, with two of those members being registered voters in Jasper (one Republican and one Democrat). Indiana code requires that the third member is a “competent mechanic,” someone familiar with how voting machines work.

The recount commission will ensure the electronic votes cast are correct. They can compare the poll book voting sign-ups to the number of votes cast to validate that each sign-up was recorded as a vote.

State election laws say the recount must be completed by December 20th.

If the now pending re-count should still end in a tie, and the election is indeed certified by the state, the task of naming the official winner will be in the hands of the CURRENT Jasper City Council, not the governing city body that will take over after the first of the year.

Now if the election would come down to the council and if you’re looking at a vote of perhaps down party lines, the Jasper 7 member council currently consists of 4 democrats and 3 republicans.

By Indiana state code a vote and decision must be made by December 31st.

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