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Republican William Ellis Taken Off Bloomington Primary Ballot For Assessor
Updated March 3, 2014 9:31 AM | Filed under: Politics
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(BLOOMINGTON) - On Friday, the Monroe County Election Board held a meeting because Anthony Smith, Treasurer for the Monroe County Democratic Party, challenged Republican William Ellis' candidacy for county assessor in the Republican primary election.

Smith claims Ellis is not qualified to run because he does not have a level three assessor-appraiser certificate, which is required by law. Indiana code says a township assessor must obtain the certificate upon taking office. But because the code does not say this explicitly at the county level, Smith says the allowance should not be made.

Ellis claims he has the same certifications as his opponent and Smith's interpretation of the law was wrong.

After a 2-1 vote, Ellis was removed from the primary election ballot because he did not have the certification.

Smith's challenge concerned Republican Election Board member Bryan Lemonds, saying it was unnerving that a Democrat could question a Republican candidate's qualifications.

Lemonds says it is the Republican party's decision to determine if a candidate is unqualified for the primary election. Lemonds added Smith's challenge was not an independent idea but spurred by Assessor Judy Sharp.

Sharp does not have her level three assessor-appraisal certification, the same certification that the Indiana State Code required Ellis to have before filing for candidacy. Ellis says Sharp has failed the test three times and she doesn't want anyone to challenge her because she can't pass the test herself.

Sharp ran for the office before the State Code required that candidates have the current credentials and was grandfathered in.

Republican County Chairman Steve Hogan says this is an opportunity to address the issue that the legislature is requiring different qualifications between the incumbent and her opponents.

Hogan added Ellis will have the level three assessor-appraiser certification before the primary election and the challenge would have been more appropriate if he were a candidate for the general election and still did not meet the code's requirements.

Sharp is not immune from the new code, however. State law requires she obtain the certification by 2016.

"It should not matter that there are two different standards for the current assessor and the challenger," Smith said in rebuttal. "The code is clear, and Ellis, to date, does not meet the qualifications to run for this office as stated in the Indiana State Code."

Ellis can still run in the general election if he receives his certificate, which he plans to do.

The Precinct Committee will organize a caucus between the date of the primary election and the end of June to debate and elect the best representative.

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