Indiana State Recount Commission issues rulings on contest petitions in election races

Dec. 6, 2010

Commission grants motion to dismiss contest petition filed in House District 76, denies motion to dismiss contest petition in race for Indiana Secretary of State

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 5, 2010) – The Indiana State Recount Commission granted the motion to dismiss the contest petition filed in House District 76 and denied the motion to dismiss the contest in the race for the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State.

In a 2-1 ruling, the commission granted the motion made by Wendy McNamara to dismiss the contest petition filed by Mark Owen, chairperson of the Vanderburgh County Democratic Central Committee. The commission granted the motion to dismiss because in his contest petition Owen did not comply with Indiana Election Code 3-12-11-3(d). This law requires a petitioner for a contest to identify each precinct or other location in which the act or series of actions occurred which serve as the basis for the contest petition.

The commission also denied a motion to dismiss the contest petition brought against Charlie White in race for the Office of Indiana Secretary of State. In a 2-1 ruling, commission members voted that the motion to dismiss the contest petition did not meet the requirements of Indiana Code 3-12-11-12(d). This law requires that a motion to dismiss specifically identify the requirement of IC 3-12-11 that the contest petition failed to comply with.

“As with all of the commission’s decisions, we strictly follow state law and the rules of due process,” Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, chairman of the commission, said. “We must continue to follow the law in order to preserve the election process. Hoosier voters expect us, as stewards of their government, to uphold the law and apply it without prejudice.”

Rokita said a party whose motion to dismiss is denied may re-file the motion. The commission set a deadline of Dec. 6, 2010 at noon for White’s counsel to file an additional motion to dismiss. Rokita said if this filing occurs the commission will convene again to hear the motion to dismiss.

“If Mr.White re-files his motion to dismiss by the deadline, following the requirements outlined by law, the commission will hear it,” Rokita said. “We must base our rulings and decisions on the law. The commission will not rush through these proceedings, but will meet the deadline fixed by state law. This matter is too important.”

Rokita said the recount commission will meet again Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010 to continue the recount process in House District 76. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EST/ 12 p.m. CST and will take place at the historic Hovey House in Mt. Vernon. The Hovey House is an especially significant location for the state recount commission to perform its work. The house was named after Indiana Gov. Alvin Hovey, who was instrumental in implementing a bipartisan effort to reform and modernize Indiana elections procedures during his term of office beginning 1889 to 1891. Hovey House continues to be used today for government functions such as the meetings of the Posey County commissioners and council.

Additionally, the meeting will be streamed live via a web portal on the Indiana Secretary of State’s website –


Media Contact:
Todd W. Darroca
Director of Communications