On Thursday, the Monroe County Election Board made a motion to investigate a complaint filed on Feb. 22 by the vice chair of the Monroe County Republicans, William Ellis. The complaint referred to questions about IU student and city council candidate David Wolfe Bender’s residency.
Bender is running to represent District 6 of the city council, which is made up of mostly students.
In February, the IDS reported that according to a resident of the property, Bender did not live at 304 E. 16th St., which he listed as his address on both his candidate filing form and voter registration.
Donavan Garletts, the chair of the election board, said he contacted the owner of the property on 16th Street, who said he had no knowledge of Bender. Garletts also visited the property in person and received the signed lease of the current tenants via email. The tenant who sent the email to Garletts said they did not know Bender.
Under Indiana code 3-5-6-31, county election boards must respond to a complaint by determining if there is a substantial reason to believe that an election law violation has occurred. They are then directed to begin an investigation, which involves a hearing where the complainant and the candidate have an opportunity to be heard and present evidence of their case.
County clerk Nicole Browne made a motion to schedule a hearing to investigate the matter, stating that she had reason to believe that election law had been violated or could be violated.
The board unanimously approved the motion. Browne made another motion to recess instead of adjourning, which would allow the board to reconvene quickly. Adjourning the meeting would mean they would have to wait until the next official meeting, which would occur next month.
The next meeting the election board holds will be to determine a date for the hearing. Public notice of the meeting must be sent at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.
Editor's note: David Wolfe Bender is a former employee of the Indiana Daily Student.