State Democrats filed a challenge Wednesday to Rep. Todd Young’s (R-9th) place on the ballot for the U.S. Senate Republican primary. They say Young doesn’t have enough of the signatures he needs to be on the ballot in May.
Senate candidates need 500 signatures from registered voters in each congressional district in order to appear on the primary ballot. Clerks in the three northwest Indiana counties that make up the First District certified 501 signatures for Todd Young.
But State Democratic Party Chair John Zody says his staff did several counts of the ballot petitions – and he says they find only 498 signatures, which would leave Young two short. Zody insists the challenge he’s filing with the State Election Commission isn’t a political maneuver.
“We have to ask these questions,” Zody says. “When it’s that close, you have to look at -- this is state law, this is a race for the United States Senate and someone possibly not having done and met the minimum requirements required for this race.”
The Young campaign calls the challenge “blatant political gamesmanship.” Spokesman Cam Savage says they’re not concerned.
“We think there are actually more valid signatures than the state’s indicating at the moment, so we’re very confident that we’ll be on the ballot,” Savage says.
Indiana Public Broadcasting, as well as several other Statehouse media organizations, conducted independent counts of Young’s ballot petitions – and found 497 valid signatures, one less than the Democrats’ count and three less than Young needs. The difference in the counts appears to be signatures counted twice.
The Indiana Election Commission could rule on the challenge at its next scheduled meeting, February 19.