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Hearing wraps in ballot dispute case

Each side wrapped up the hearing with their final arguments. Both sides now have until Wednesday afternoon to submit findings of fact, conclusions of law. After that, the judge will decide if any laws were broken, weigh all the options, and make a decision.

Posted: Apr 16, 2019 6:02 PM
Updated: Apr 16, 2019 7:01 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A hearing about a ballot dispute for a city council seat in Terre Haute wrapped up Tuesday.

As News 10 has shared, Tess Brooks-Stephens' name was listed after Cheryl Loudermilk's on this year's ballot. State law says names are to be in alphabetical order, which at this point they're not. The hearing had been to decide what happens next.

Two documents were submitted to the court Tuesday by Brooks-Stephens' lawyer Chris Gambill.

One was a letter from Gambill to Vigo County Clerk Brad Newman saying his office had made a mistake in alphabetizing the names on the ballot.

The other was an affidavit from a writer with the Tribune-Star about conversations he had with Brad Newman. Gambill says within it, the writer described Newman admitting his office had made an error and the ballot would be changed. Ultimately, that didn't happen, but Gambill says he wishes it would've.

He explains, "A much better result would have been following through when they recognized the error on March 18th, before the ballots were printed, before the absentee ballots were sent out, all of this could've been corrected at that time without a cent owed by the taxpayer."

Each side wrapped up the hearing with their final arguments. Both sides now have until Wednesday afternoon to submit findings of fact, conclusions of law. That’s basically what both sides would like to see happen moving forward.

After that, the judge will decide if any laws were broken, weigh all the options, and make a decision.

Here's what Gambill says he'd like to see happen if the judge finds the law was broken. He says, “If she finds that there was a mistake in the law, an error in the law and that the names were in the wrong order on the ballot, or are in the wrong order on the ballot, she will order that the ballots be changed, and then a notice will need to be sent to all folks who have voted already, to tell them that they can re-vote should they choose to do so, and then they will have to make a written request for a new ballot.”

News 10 asked Vigo County Clerk Brad Newman and Attorney Michael Wright if they wanted to comment. They declined at this point since the case isn't closed yet.

Gambill says overall, he’s hopeful in getting justice for his client. The attorney shared, “I think all of us have worked hard to bring this to a quick end. And to that extent, I appreciate opposing counsel and the court cooperating to bring it to a quick end.”

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