Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by Cass County Online
The Cass County Election Board met at 9 a.m. Friday, February 17, 2023 to hold hearings for challenges filed regarding two declarations of candidacy for the municipal primary election.
The first challenge addressed by the Cass County Election Board pertained to Berney (Willie) Sadler, whose declaration of candidacy requested to be placed on the official primary ballot of the Republican Party for the office of mayor of Logansport.
Cass County Republican Party chairman David Richey filed a challenge to Sadler’s candidate filing on Feb. 7, 2023, listing the facts that led Richey to believe Sadler was ineligible to be a candidate for the office as “his home mailing address is outside city limits.”
In a written statement provided during Friday’s meeting, David Richey indicated that he was unable to attend due to a previously scheduled appointment to take a family member to a doctor appointment in Indianapolis, and that Barrie McClain would be acting as his proxy.
Richey’s statement reads:
“The Cass County Republican Party decided at our last precinct that I would not contest any mayoral candidates to avoid showing bias and due to the fact that I do not live within the city limits. If others wished to contest candidates that would be acceptable. However, when I received the candidate list from the Clerk’s office with residential (mailing) addresses I discovered a discrepancy with Mr. Sadler’s address … we need Mr. Sadler to verify where he resides as only residents of Logansport (those who actually reside within the city limits) may run for mayor.”
During Friday’s meeting, Sadler confirmed his address, which is a Logansport postal address but is outside the city’s corporate boundaries.
The Cass County Election Board, which is comprised of Republican Andrew Stephenson, Democrat Jim Austen and Cass County Clerk Destry Richey, unanimously voted to uphold the challenge.
The second challenge addressed by the Cass County Election Board pertained to Rich Voorhees, whose declaration of candidacy also requested to be placed on the official primary ballot of the Republican Party for the office of mayor of Logansport.
A challenge was filed by Dahrol Perry, as a registered voter, on Feb. 9, 2023, listing the facts that led Perry to believe Voorhees was ineligible to be a candidate for the office as “Voting records show Voorhees voted in one of the two most recent Democrat primaries. IC 3-8-2-7 (Sec. 7).”
Perry is contracted as the director of communications for the mayor’s office.
Section 3 of the declaration of candidacy form states:
I am claiming affiliation with the Democratic or Republican Party. I understand that my party affiliation is determined by which party I voted for in the last two primary elections in Indiana in which I voted. I understand that if I cannot met this party affiliation requirement, I must obtain and file with this declaration a certificate from the appropriate county chairman of the party indicated that I am a member of this political party. I meet the requirements to be affiliated with the political party indicated because: (check one)
- The two most recent primary elections in Indiana in which I voted were the primaries held by the party with which I claim affiliation, above.
- The county chairman of the county in which I reside, and of the political party with which I claim affiliation above, has certified that I am a member of the political party.
The first box is checked on Voorhees’ declaration of candidacy, indicating that the two most recent elections in which he voted were primaries held by the party with which he claims affiliation.
Perry and Voorhees both had the opportunity to address the Election Board on Friday morning.
Perry said the voting discrepancy was brought to his attention and he felt it was “only right to challenge trying to unseat the city mayor in the primary.”
Voorhees said he has been a Republican since the 1970s and recalled working the polls in the 1970s at the Y.
Records from the Indiana Statewide Voter Registration system provided during Friday’s meeting show Voorhees’ voting history as a Democratic ballot type in the 2020 primary election, and a Republican ballot in the 2000, 1998 and 1996 primary elections.
Paul Willham asked if he could address the board, as Voorhees’ campaign coordinator, and challenged Perry’s challenge paperwork that indicates Perry is a registered voter of Precinct 5.
In November 2022, the Logansport City Council approved new precinct maps.
Wilham also questioned the source of the voting records, and County Clerk Destry Richey, along with county IT director CJ Gilsinger, provided information about the voting process and the state’s electronic pollbooks. Richey stated that during a primary, candidates are asked to point to the ballot they would prefer and receive either a Republican or Democrat ballot. Richey said that if the voter pulls up the ballot on the voting machine and have been given the wrong one, they can go back and request a different one.
Based on the voting records and the option candidates have to seek certification from the party chair, the election board voted unanimously to uphold the challenge against Voorhees based on the state’s requirements.
Austen reminded those in attendance that people often think they are registered as one party or the other.
“Not in Indiana, you aren’t,” he said. “There’s no place to go register except by primary ballot.”
On Friday afternoon, Voorhees announced on his campaign Facebook page that he intends to seek the signatures necessary to appear on the ballot as an Independent in the fall.
The Election Board indicated that the municipal primary ballots will be ready for review next week, with a public test date of the voting machines scheduled for Friday, March 3.
Three additional Republican candidates filed to seek their party’s nomination for mayor: incumbent Chris Martin, James McKeever and Johnny “Q”uinones.
Four Democratic candidates are seeking their party’s nomination for mayor: Terry Doran, Larry B. Hood, Dave Kitchell and Jacob LeDonne.
There’s also a contested race on the Republican ballot for Logansport City Council Ward 2 between Blain R. Perkins and BJ Cox. The winning candidate will face Democrat Jesika Alexander in the fall.
The remaining candidates who are unopposed in the primary and will appear on the ballot for the general election in November:
Tyler M. Pearson (Republican)
Duane D. Ullom (Democrat)
City Council Ward 1
Cameron Austin (Republican)
City Council Ward 3
No candidates have filed for primary election.
City Council Ward 4
Carl H. McPherson, Jr (Democrat)
City Council Ward 5
Scott G. Peattie (Democrat)
There are two city council at-large seats; Republicans Benjamin A. Grant and Jonathan Nelms will face Democrat Dave Morris in November.
The municipal primary will be held Tuesday, May 2. Early voting will begin on April 22 at the Cass County Government Building.
Applications for absentee ballots by mail can be submitted anytime on or before April 20; applications for ballot by travel board can be submited anytime until noon on May 1, 2023.