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Signature disqualifications puts independent mayoral candidate's status in jeopardy

Posted: 2:11 PM, Jul 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-09 00:07:51-04
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INDIANAPOLIS — John Schmitz, an independent candidate running for mayor of Indianapolis, has more than enough signatures to be allowed on the ballot. But many of those have not counted as signatures for him by the Marion County Board of Voter Registration, putting his candidacy in jeopardy.

An independent or minor party candidate must get a number of signatures equal to 2% of the votes cast for secretary of state in the 2018 General Election, so Schmitz needs 6,106. He said he has more than enough — more than 8,000. But as he’s presented them to the Marion County Board of Voter Registration for verification, many have been thrown out. He calls it an “unwinnable situation.”

“I feel like we’ve done the work,” Schmitz said. “I feel like the people we’ve talked to want us on the ballot.”

He said 30% to 40% of the signatures have been deemed not qualified. Some were for legitimate reasons, Schmitz said.

One reason for deeming a signature not qualified could be if the signee isn’t registered to vote.

But the main issue has been that the signee’s address doesn’t line up with their voting address on the registration. Schmitz also contends some people were marked as unregistered, but the person was actually registered.

Schmitz said the people verifying the signatures have done it too quickly, leading to sloppy work.

But representatives with the Marion County Board of Voter Registration pushed back against that assertion. They also said Schmitz’s team pushed the urgency on the work. They weren’t able to say exactly how many of the signatures were deemed not qualified, because they’re still working through them.

“The bottom line is — these are registered voters,” Schmitz said. “They still live in Marion County. They wish to have us on the ballot.”

The Marion County Board of Voter Registration representatives weren’t able to say exactly how many of the signatures were deemed not qualified, because they’re still working through them.

Schmitz said even with so many signatures not qualifying, he should still have enough to get onto the ballot in November. He expects to end up with more than 6,200 signatures.

Still, he plans to appeal many of the signatures, and has even discussed filing a lawsuit if it comes to that.

Schmitz plans on hosting a "People over Politics" rally Monday evening at 6 p.m. at the City-County Building. For more information, click here .

There is one signature he thinks he’s still missing — his own.

In the craziness of trying to get as many signatures as possible, Schmitz said he’s not completely sure he actually signed it himself.

“We haven’t seen my name yet,” Schmitz said. “I thought I signed it early on. We need to verify that.”