Rickord wins appeal to run for Decatur mayor


    The Decatur mayoral race is officially back on between Democrat Daniel Rickord and Republican Ken Meyer after Rickord, through his attorney, Joseph Johnson II, appealed his disqualification from the race, a decision made by the Adams County Election Board. The decision was made Wednesday morning by Special Judge Andrew K. Antrim, a judge out of Wells County.
    Rickord originally requested the state reverse the decision of the Adams County Election Board and allow his name to remain on the November ballot in early September. The decision to disqualify Rickord was made in early August.
    In court documents released after the decision, it stated, “The court finds that this filing complied with I.C. 3-13-1-15 and I.C. 3-13-1-14. The court finds that the certificate of candidate selection to fill an early ballot vacancy for a city or town office shall be filed no later than noon on July 3. I.C. 3-13-1-14 provides that the written consent, or CAN-49 form must be filed not later than when the certificate is filed. Therefore, the written consent is filed within the deadline set fourth in this code section. The court finds that the decision of the Adams County Election Board was in error, that the decision is reversed, and the court finds that appellant, Daniel Lee Rickord, is eligible as a candidate for the office of mayor of Decatur, Indiana, in  the Nov. 5, 2019, general and municipal election.”
    Barb Engle, Adams County Democratic chair said, “I am glad for Dan that the appeal was successful. I know he is anxious to really get started with the campaign.”

    The original decision to disqualify Rickord from the mayoral race was made at an Aug. 13 public hearing after Adams County Republican Party Chairman Gerald M. Walker announced the local GOP filed a challenge to his candidacy. In a 2-1 vote of the Adams County Election Board, Rickord was disqualified from running as the Democratic nominee for the mayoral seat.
    Rickord was set to run against incumbent Ken Meyer for the city’s top post. Rickord was the former Decatur City Utilities Manager for several years.
    Walker said the challenge rests on the date the declaration of candidacy and chairman’s certification forms were signed.
    “An injustice was done,” Engle said during a phone interview Aug. 14. “It became a political issue.”
    Engle said there were plenty of great supporters at the hearing, many whom are Republicans. According to the appeal, Engle has been chairman of the Adams County Democrat party for more than 10 years. It goes on to state, “she is very knowledgeable of the Indiana Election laws governing the filling of vacancies on general election ballots. She and other party officials were aware of the provisions of Indiana Code 3-13-1-6, that such vacancies could be filled by a caucus of precinct commitment. Aware of
 authorization requirement, in March 2017, by a majority vote of the Adams County Democrat Committee, a resolution was adopted, ‘authorizing the Adams County Democrat Chairman sole authority to fill early ballot candidate vacancies for local office.’”
    “We filed by July 2, a full day before the deadline,” Engle said, and then went on to explain there is nothing in the Indiana Election Code stating anything has to be in writing by June 30.
    Candidates filing for the May primary had until Feb. 9 to do so. If no candidate files for a particular office, both parties have until noon June 30 to caucus a candidate.
    A caucus is a local meeting where registered members of a political party in a city, town or county gather to vote for its preferred party candidate.
    Once a candidate has been determined by the caucus, the parties then have three days to bring the required paperwork to the clerk’s office, with that deadline being noon on July 3. According to paperwork filed with the clerk’s office, Rickord submitted his candidacy for mayor at 10:13 a.m. July 2, which was more than a full day before the deadline.
    Walker said in an interview at the time of the challenge, “It was nothing personal nor a political vendetta … For years I’ve gone by the exact date” which was by noon June 30. Walker also said two forms had to be filled out — CAN-48, which states a candidate is officially running, and CAN-49, which is a form saying the party chairman has named someone with the intent to run. Both forms were marked July 2, according to Walker, and “if both forms would have been dated June 30, everything would have been fine.”
    According to the 2019 Calendar Brochure by the State of Indiana, found at www.in.gov, it is stated, “Sunday, June 30, 2019, DEADLINE, by noon, for the Democratic or Republican Party to select a candidate to fill a vacancy on the municipal election ballot due to a vacancy resulting from no candidate being nominated at a primary … Wednesday, July 3, 2019, DEADLINE, by noon, for the Democratic or Republican Party to file a certificate of selection stating that a vacancy on the municipal election ballot resulting from a vacancy on the primary election ballot has been filled.”