Some drama continues to brew in St. Joseph County over how the upcoming midterm elections will be handled.
Given a recent investigation into county clerk Rita Glenn (D) and now a lawsuit being filed by the state Republican Party over a recent resolution passed by the county’s election board.
That resolution, in a nutshell, states that the clerk can unilaterally act on the election board’s behalf when “it is more reasonable to do so.” Democrats on the election board say it’s to help the election process move more efficiently. The lone Republican on the board, Thomas Dixon, believes his right to oversee the handling of elections is being infringed.
“This lawsuit was filed against the St. Joseph County elections board because of a resolution passed by the election board last week,” said the GOP’s attorney Andrew Jones. “It is our position and our contention the resolution that was passed by the election board in a 2-1 partisan vote is illegal.”
With Clerk Rita Glenn being a Democrat and a member of the election board, Republicans contest that the resolution violates state law because the resolution states the clerk can act on behalf of the election board. The issue, they say, is that this would put decision-making over elections in the hands of only one political party.
“The scandal is removing bipartisan oversight from our elections,” Jones said. “That has nothing to do with whether it’s Democrats doing it to Republicans, or Republicans doing it to Democrats.”
Glenn is being investigated by state police over surveillance video made public by former GOP member Ben Horvath showing Glenn entering a double locked room meant to store election ballots and then throwing something away. By law, members of both parties are supposed to be present when entering a ballot storage room.
St. Joseph County Democrats believe Republicans are engineering the whole thing for political gain. Horvath was the key holder for the Republican Party at the time for the ballot storage room and Democrats say he failed to show up when requested to allow access to the room.
“It’s very disheartening that the St. Joseph County GOP leadership is joining in that chorus, orchestrating an unrelenting coordinated attack in order to manufacture a fake conspiracy in hope of gaining, of scoring political points,” said St. Joseph County Democratic Party Chairperson Diana Hess.
The St. Joseph County election board will be holding a public meeting on Friday to further discuss the issues.