The challenger in the November 3rd Jasper Mayoral election is asking that a special election be held in order to help break a tie in the contest.
Democrat candidate Wayne Schuetter is calling on incumbent republican mayor Terry Seitz to agree to the special election and suggests it take place sometime after the first of the new year in order to decide who will hold the office beginning next month. During a recount commission hearing last Friday a ballot was thrown out for a clerical error that gave Seitz the victory over Schuetter last month.
On Friday the recount commission ruled 2-to-1 that an absentee vote for was invalid and should be removed from the election total.
That change left the final total at 1,856 to 1,855 votes in Seitz’s favor.
Schuetter held a press conference this morning at the Jasper Train Depot where he read from a prepared statement saying a better way to resolve such an unprecedented tie would have been through a special election. He declared the recount ultimately disenfranchised a voter because of a clerical error.
Schuetter says while Mayor Seitz can reject the idea of a special election he hopes the mayor would realize that the proposal is the best way to move the city forward and restore the idea that Jasper does things the right way.
Schuetter says he hopes Seitz agrees to the proposed special election because of the impact recent events have had on the reputation and image of the Jasper community. He says he does not believe that he or his supporters want Jasper to be known as a city that settled an unprecedented tie for mayor by having a voter disfranchised.
Schuetter says that if both parties agree to the special election and the election board agrees to conduct it, the candidates would present the idea to Daviess Superior Court Judge Dean Sobecki, who oversaw the recount hearing.
If approved, Schuetter proposes the election be held within the first two weeks of January and be open to all legally registered voters in Jasper and not just those who voted in the November election.
Schuetter also called for the political parties to pay for the special election.
He says that in the highly unlikely case that the special election end in a tie, the decision would fall to the flip of a coin.
During a gathering with media at Jasper City Hall this afternoon Seitz rejected Schuetter’s proposal for a special election. He said that the decision made has precedents with the Indiana Supreme Court and as of now he is mayor of Jasper a position that should be respected.
Seitz also issued a release saying that the reputation of the City of Jasper will not be tarnished by this event. He says to the contrary, he is proud that his campaign for re-election was honest, forthright, and legal, by every standard. He says he is proud of his campaign team, volunteers and supporters.