Huntington Herald Press Story
Posted in the Huntington Forum
Since: May 07
#1 Mar 20, 2009
Dem’s leadership in limbo
Thursday, March 19, 2009 1:03 PM EDT
State party leaders could order revote
BY REBECCA L. SANDLIN
The Democratic Party leadership in Huntington County is on hold until state-level party leaders can decide who is in charge.
When local party leaders gathered in a caucus April 21 to choose a new county chairman, some of those leaders filed a protest with the Indiana Democrat Party about the way in which the vote for Huntington County Chairman was conducted.
During that caucus, a second vote was taken after the first concluded in a tie between Gary Snyder and Jim Long. The second vote also ended in a tie, at which time then-chairman Ken Zuk declared Snyder the winner.
In both votes, proxy ballots were counted, a practice which Fifth District Chairman Keith Clock said is not allowed under the Democrat Party rules.
“We did not recognize Huntington County in our quorum due to the contention of their election,” he said.“They did provide us with some minutes from their meeting that stated they did use proxies in their meeting. That’s not authorized use.”
Clock met with Zuk, Dallas 2 Precinct Committeeman and Andrews Town Councilman Raymond Tackett and another party member last Saturday to discuss the issue. Tackett represents 12 people whose names appeared on the petition in opposition to how Snyder was chosen. Snyder did not attend the meeting.
Clock said the petition was “basically asking for a new election,” a solution that will be an item of discussion at Saturday’s State Central Committee meeting, which now has jurisdiction over the case. He added that Snyder will not be officially-recognized as the Huntington County chairman until the issue has been decided.
“It’s my understanding that as chair, he appointed a lot of new precinct chairs and vice-chairs that don’t appear to be Democrats,” Clock said.“Just as himself n he’s never voted in a Democratic primary n some of these other people he’s appointed, as well as the election board members. He fired a long-time election board member up there and replaced (that person) with a gentleman ... I checked his voting record and he had never voted in a Democratic primary, either.”
Tackett said not having voted in a Democratic primary is what makes Snyder ineligible to hold the chairman’s office, according to party rules.
“There have been a lot of e-mails and a lot of people making phone calls between the state Democrat Party people and Huntington Democrats,” he said.“I’m not as concerned as much with the proxy voting as I am Snyder’s eligibility.”
Tackett added Clock told him if there is a new election Clock would oversee the process to make sure party rules are followed.
Snyder said he will wait to hear word from the State Central Committee, but said he has not been contacted by state party leaders about any issues with the caucus vote or appointments he’s made.
“I’ll take whatever they decide to do,” he said.
But Snyder said he disputes Tackett’s claim that he’s not a Democrat.
“As far as the caucus went, there was no objection to any proxy until it was my proxy n one of my supporters,” Snyder said.“So, if they want to do a re-vote with the people who voted that day, I’m comfortable with that; if they decide to leave me with the chair I’m comfortable with that.”
Clock, who is the Hamilton County chairman as well as the chairman of the Fifth District n which encompasses Huntington County n is also a member of the State Central Committee. He said he will be present when the issue comes up before state leaders Saturday.
“More than likely we’re going to have another election up there,” Clock said.
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