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Candidate Files Complaint with County Election Board

August 20, 2019

 

The Fiscal Conservatives of Hamilton County proudly endorsed Mike Johns as our choice for Westfield City Council District 5 during the May Primary.  It came as no surprise when he was able to unseat the incumbent and deliver a victory to the voters of his district.  We believed then, as we believe now, that Mike is "an emerging force in council candidates, committed to Westfield and will provide a unique perspective that makes him the best candidate for this exceptional opportunity."

 

Having met and heard from Mike Johns at our Candidate Forum last April, FCoHC Chairman Bill Smythe remarked, "It is obvious that Mike is engaged.  Effective leadership is essential to navigate the challenges that Westfield is facing...".

 

Johns delivered a Candidate Filing Challenge against his Independent opponent today citing "inaccurate and incomplete use" of the necessary candidate forms.  Believing the following facts to be true, Johns thinks it may make his opponent ineligible to run on the upcoming ballot.  He proves that he is a law-abiding, rule-following, excellent-example-of-a-Republican who is ready to face problems with careful examination, determination and dedication by sharing the following letter with us and you. 

 

To review any forms mentioned, please make an official document request with the Hamilton County Elections Office.

_________________________________________________

 

To:  Hamilton County Elections Board

Kathy Kreag Williams, Hamilton County, Indiana

County Voter Registration Office of Hamilton County, Indiana

 

Between June 27, 2019 and July 1, 2019, Kate Snedeker petitioned residents of the City of Westfield, Common Council District 5, Petitions of Nomination for City or Town Office in 2019 (CAN-44).  I have several concerns not only regarding the petitions, which have since been certified by your office, but also other documents filed related to the upcoming municipal general election.  All of the candidate’s filings, including the petitions are unreasonably laden with blatant errors and omissions prompting my concern.  Indiana Code and the Candidates Guide clearly stipulate the appropriate instructions for filing and the Election Board should receive and examine any and all grievances with the utmost scrutiny.  Pending your examination, I ask that Kate Healey Snedeker be removed as an Independent candidate from the 2019 Municipal General Election ballot.

 

All documents were filed on July 10, 2019 in the Hamilton County Voter Registration and Election Offices and duly noted. Snedeker’s CFA-1, Candidate’s Statement of Organization and Designation of Principal Committee or Exploratory Committee Form, lists her name in Section A as Catherine “Kate” F. H. Snedeker; Section C as Kate Snedeker; and Section E as Kate Healey Snedeker.  Filed at 11:10 a.m., these are the first of her name “discrepancies.”  According to both the 2019 Indiana Candidate Guide and Indiana Code 3-5-7, “A candidate is only permitted to use certain “designations” for the form in which the candidate’s legal name appears on the ballot…A candidate’s “name” refers to any of the following:  (1) the candidate’s given name; (2) the candidate’s surname; and (3) the candidate’s middle name.”  Nowhere could I find a rule on using every name or a rule on arbitrarily using a maiden name as a middle initial and later as a last name.  Specifically, I ask that you verify her “legal name” by requesting a birth certificate and choose an acceptable candidate name designation as outlined in the guide should you allow her on the ballot.

 

Her CAN-12, Statement of Economic Interests for Local and School Board Offices was received by the Clerk of Hamilton County Courts at 11:04 a.m.  Snedeker has omitted employment by failing to disclose in line 3 that in addition to being self-employed she is an employee of both Westfield-Washington Schools and the City of Westfield.  For your convenience, I have included her documented salaries from each position which are listed on Gateway.

 

Regarding the CAN-45 form filed at 11:12 a.m.  Kate Healey Snedeker failed to answer Question #13.  According to this document, if the answer is “no”, question 14 should be skipped.  In this instance, without the answer to question #13, question #14 has been checked “yes.”  This leads me to believe that she has in fact run for office previously and filed necessary reports.  Question #15 has been left blank.  Having certified that the information in the Declaration of Candidacy is true and complete and having taken the proper oath by a local government official, I ask for specific clarification on these questions as well as proper documentation and explanation of Snedeker’s legal name per code.

 

The Petitions of Nomination for City or Town Office in 2019 (CAN-44), date and time stamped between 11:16 and 11:19 a.m., have similar issues.  Most often, her name appears as Kate Snedeker on the petitions, but a few read Kate Healey Snedeker and oddly, one clearly reads Kate Snedecor.  Under the “Candidate Name” Section of the petition, it reads “as established on the CAN-45 form”, which would be Kate Healy Snedeker, however most do not.  Petition #8 fails to designate the city in which she is running and has obviously been filed out by the same person who signed lines 1 through 3 on the petition.  (A point I intend to make clearer in a later paragraph.)  Petition #9 doesn’t designate the office sought at all and is the same petition that lists the candidate as Kate Snedecor.  I have serious doubts that a candidate seeking elected office would affirm she watched someone sign a petition on which they had spelled her name improperly and was unaware of the office she is seeking.  It is my belief that these forms were not under her authority at the time they were signed.  Therefore, her affirmation that a signer properly completed and signed the petitions with her, as the carrier, is highly suspect.

 

Petitions 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 15 have cases of very similar if not identical handwriting on some of the lines.  I would like to understand if each signature was verified on every line of each petition.

 

Petition #13 has its own special problem.  The signers on lines 5 and 6, (NAMES REDACTED) have very similar handwriting (like the others mentioned) but in this case, husband and wife don’t seem to live in the same house.  (REDACTED) lives at (ADDRESS REDACTED) Way in Westfield, but (REDACTED) lives at (REDACTED) N. Drive in Carmel.  Both signatures were verified as registered voters in Village Farms 1.

 

Addressing Petition #8, I will share that I have already discussed a portion of this matter with Hamilton County GOP Party Chairperson Laura Campbell.  My concern initially was that Mr. Boller is a precinct committeeman in Westfield, which is an issue of party affiliation and prompted a telephone call from him.  Mr. Boller offered his apologies and admitted to me that his wife forged his signature.  (An admission made to the County Party Chairperson too.)  I can only presume all three signatures from the Boller household were forged that day as they all share the exact same handwriting.  It seems Mrs. Boller returned the petition to Kate Snedeker; Kate then signed it and had no idea that the form had been falsely signed as the story goes.  Again, the affirmation of the petition carrier is a serious matter which seems to have been taken more as a suggestion than a requirement.  As we continue down this rabbit hole, for your convenience, I have provided a handwritten copy of Mr. Boller’s own CFA-4 filed on April 22nd, 2019.  I do not profess to be a handwriting expert, but I believe this handwriting looks extremely similar to the handwriting on the petition. Also included is a copy of Mr. Boller’s signature as I cannot read it in the redacted portion of his campaign finance report.  Perhaps you will come to the same conclusion.

 

In closing, the myriad of issues on the aforementioned documents have prompted me to file the CAN-1 with your office.  I believe Snedeker’s attempt to confuse the voting public has been an attempt to change her (alphabetical) placement on the ballot.  As a registered voter in this district and a candidate for election appearing on the general election ballot, it is my hope that you will address the serious nature of all of the infractions by calling a meeting of the Elections Board; review the signatures of the people who signed the petitions and invalidate them where applicable; address the serious nature of the infractions with the candidate; address the discrepancies regarding the candidate’s use of multiple names; and remove the petitioner from the ballot this November as I believe the candidate’s inaccurate and incomplete use of the prescribed forms should disqualify her from the election.

 

Sincerely,

Mike Johns

 

 

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