Opening-day filings kick off election season

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Feb. 19 is deadline for adding name to ballot; state primary May 4

By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

PERRY COUNTY - Candidates appeared in the county clerk's office shortly after it opened Wednesday morning to begin staking their claims to spots on ballots for this year's elections. The filing period will close at noon Feb. 19.

County Clerk Jean Schulthise said Tuesday she had packages prepared for candidates, which included financial-disclosure forms they need to submit. School-board candidates also have to pick up petition forms.

"We're going to have a really active election this year," she said, referring to the number of positions to be filled. As The News reported Jan. 4, voters will cast ballots for sheriff, prosecutor, four of the seven county-council representatives, one of three county commissioners, county treasurer, coroner, clerk, auditor and assessor.

For the first time, all three of the county's school corporations will have school-board members on ballots this year, as the first elected members of the Tell City-Troy Township School Board will be chosen in the November general election. Cannelton and Perry Central school-board members are up for election in the May primary.

Legislation under consideration in the state General Assembly could put a question on this year's ballot that will have voters determine the fate of township trustees and advisory boards. One bill that has been approved by the House would have voters in individual townships make the decision, Schulthise explained, while another version would have the question asked on a county-wide basis.

If the former method is adopted, counties throughout the state could end up having trustees and advisory boards for some of their townships and not others, she added.

If the question is posed in either form, voters will see it and the names of contenders on their ballots.

Senate Bill 240, approved Jan. 14 by the Senate Committee on Local Government, would give county councils legislative and fiscal responsibilities for townships beginning Jan. 1, 2013. House Bill 1181, which has gone to the Senate, would transfer the powers and duties of trustees and township boards to the county commissioners Jan. 1, 2012.

With the bills still under consideration, "we still need the wording from the state," Schulthise said, adding, "we will make it as simple as possible."