Scott Election Board Turns Austin Voter Complaints Over To Prosecutor

Two complaints of election violations in the recent Austin Primary Election have been referred by the Scott County Election Board to the Scott County Prosecutor.
The Republican member of the election board Dale Martin, Democrat member Josh Stigdon, and board secretary, County Clerk Missy Applegate voted unanimously on June 19 to send the matter to the prosecutor for any action.
A complaint of candidate ineligibility was filed by Dillo Bush, current Austin Mayor, against Jonathan White, the winner of the Republican Primary for mayor. In his complaint Bush contends that White does not live at the address claimed, 20 S. 1st Street.
A second complaint of voter ineligibility was filed by Lonnie E. Noble against Joseph and Karen Payne. Noble, a candidate for mayor in the Republican primary, wrote the election board that the Paynes while claiming Payne Law Office at 377 W. Main Street as their residence, they actually live at 80 West Cutshall Road.
On advice from their attorneys, neither the Paynes nor White appeared at the Election Board hearing last Wednesday.
Payne, who is representing White, responded in writing to the election board citing IC 3-5-5-6 “which states that there is a presumption that a person lives at the address that he claims”.
“Mr. Bush has seen Jonathan White come out of the front door of his residence at 20 South First Street every work day for more than a year and knows Mr. White resides there,” Payne wrote.
North Vernon attorney Mark Dove, who is representing the Paynes, wrote the election board that the Paynes are preparing to downsize their domicile.
“Because all five of the Payne’s children have graduated college and are now self sufficient, their former residence at 80 West Cutshall Road is being prepared to be sold,” Dove wrote to the election board. “They no longer have a need for the square footage of the Cutshall Road home and they desire to avoid the cost of upkeep.”
Dove wrote that the Paynes closed their personal Post Office Box in January of this year and began receiving their mail at 377 West Main Street.
“Although the West Main Street (location) houses the Payne Law Office on its first floor, there are fully furnished living quarters on the second floor which serves as my clients’ primary residence,” Dove wrote.
“Given these facts and other which would be presented, I do not believe that the presumption of residence created by IC 3-5-5-6(b) could be overcome in a court of law by either the civil standard of ‘preponderance of the evidence’ or the criminal standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’,” Dove concluded.
Explaining the election board’s decision to refer the matter to the prosecutor, County Clerk Missy Applegate said, “We had no choice.”
She cited IC 3-14-5-3(b) “…each county election board shall report a violation of this title as a felony or misdemeanor to the appropriate prosecuting attorney and the alleged violator.”
In Indiana law “shall means we must,” said Applegate.