Schuetter made the request known at a press conference held at the Jasper Train Depot. (Story here.)
In response, Mayor Seitz held a press conference at the City Hall at 1 p.m.
Seitz prefaced the conference by stating he was there to respond to Schuetter’s request and he would not be taking questions from those attending.
“I find it interesting that there was no call for a special election on November 4,” Seitz read from his prepared remarks. “In fact, there was a willingness to let the Council decide. Under the same election law, I filed for a recount.”
That recount ended with four ballots contested – three for erasure or marking issues and one due to a missing signature. The only ballot thrown out was one endorsing Schuetter as mayor that was missing the initials of the Democratic representative of the bipartisan pair that inspects each ballot used by the travel board or for absentee voting. The ballot is inspected prior to it leaving to ensure it is clean of any marks and is valid.
“In regards to the recount results, Indiana law requires that the entire ballot may not be counted unless the ballot is endorsed properly,” Seitz said. “The Indiana Supreme Court has declared this law to be constitutional. As to any voter disenfranchisement, I submit Mr. Schuetter and his team were well prepared to disenfranchise the two votes that were argued on his behalf.”
Those votes were argued due to the marks appearing to be tampered or erased. One was lighter than the other marks on the ballot and on the second ballot, it appeared the voter had attempted to erase the vote for mayor while voting a straight party ticket.
Seitz explained that the Indiana Code calls for certain standards pursuant to a special election. “There is no legal precedent for holding a special election under the circumstances with which we are currently presented,” he said.
He explained that he disagreed with Schuetter’s sentiments that Jasper’s reputation had been tarnished by the election proceedings. “To the contrary, we are proud our campaign for reelection was honest, forthright and legal by every standard.”
He added that he would not take part in a special election.
“The determination by the duly appointed recount commission is final,” Seitz said. “It is time to move forward and as the duly elected mayor of the City of Jasper, I am going to do just that.”
Schuetter stated this morning, depending on Seitz’s response, on Tuesday, December 29, he would announce whether or not he intends to appeal the recount commission’s decision to Special Judge Dean Sobecki.