Two Republican candidates who filed for seats on the Noblesville Common Council won’t appear on the May 2 primary ballot after they were challenged on the basis of their vote history.
Jay Mundy, who sought the District 2 council seat, and Matt Witsken, who filed for the District 1 council seat, were removed from the ballot by the Hamilton County Election Board after challenges by Hamilton County Republican Chairman Mario Massillamany. Hamilton County Elections Administrator Beth Sheller said state statute requires that the two most recent primary elections in Indiana in which the candidate voted were primaries held by the party that the candidate has filed to run.
“This does not have to be the two most recent primaries, just the two most recent that they themselves voted in,” Sheller said.
Sheller said Mundy’s two most recent primaries were Democratic ballots and was challenged, while she noted that Witsken has no primary history and was also challenged. She noted that candidates are required to mark when they file acknowledging the state statute requirement.
Sheller said there are different reasons for challenges, noting that in most cases, candidates must live in the city or district that they are running in for at least a year before they take office, or in some cases, before the date of the election.
“Also, challenges are made for candidates running in a primary that do not have the two vote history primaries for that party or do not have a letter from the party chair that gives the OK for them to run,” Sheller said. “There can be other things, such as a felony conviction or not being a registered voter.”
Sheller said it is “fairly common” for some candidates to be challenged based on their vote history, noting such challenges must be filed by a registered voter of that election district that the candidate seeks to represent or a county chairman of a major political party of a county in which any part of the election district is location.
“The only other challenge is made by the circuit court clerk when a candidate is required to be nominated by petition, and it is determined that they do not have the amount of signatures necessary to be placed on the ballot,” Sheller said.
The removal of Mundy and Witsken from the May 2 primary ballot means that the District 1 and 2 races for seats on the Noblesville Common Council will be unopposed. Incumbent Mike Davis, a Republican, will appear on the ballot for the District 1 seat, while voters will see Republican candidate Todd Thurston vying for the District 2 seat.