Filing to begin in local elections

This year, voters will have the chance to cast their ballots for the officials who decide what streets should be paved, how local money should be spent and what projects are most important in cities and towns.

But exactly what races you’ll vote in hasn’t been decided. That depends on who files to run for local offices.

Filing begins Wednesday for residents interested in serving in city or town offices, including mayor, city and town councils, and city court judge. The deadline to file is noon Feb. 6.

The number of candidates who decide to run for office will determine whether certain communities will vote at all, how many vote centers will be open for voters to cast ballots and where those centers will be located.

Johnson County Clerk Sue Anne Misiniec is expecting at least some contested races, such as for at-large council seats, since residents already have called the courthouse to see when they could file paperwork. But she won’t be able to plan for this year’s elections until she knows who is running.

In this year’s elections, only residents who live in cities or towns can vote. If you are one of the more than 35,000 residents who live in the Center Grove area or any other unincorporated area of the county, you will not be able to vote. And even if you live in a city or town, you still might not have an election this year if there are no competitive races.

For example, if only one person files for a position, then voters will not cast ballots since there is no competition. In the 2011 municipal election, New Whiteland did not open any voting locations for residents because the town had no contested races, Misiniec said.

If there are few elections happening in your community, that also will mean there will be fewer voting centers set up for the election, Misiniec said.

She said she expects more voting sites will be set up in Greenwood and Franklin but won’t determine the number until after the filing deadline. This will be the county’s first year using vote centers in a municipal election.

Misiniec already knows some communities will need to find different places to vote, including Franklin. Franklin’s north end has multiple polling sites, but the west side of Franklin does not. Johnson Memorial Hospital, a longtime voting center, will be under construction during the election and can’t be used.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Misiniec said.

At a glance

Johnson County residents living in cities and towns could be voting for the following positions in the municipal election. Residents who live in unincorporated areas of Johnson County will not be able to vote:

Greenwood

Mayor

Clerk

City court judge

City council — six district seats and three at-large seats

Franklin

Mayor

Clerk

City court judge

City council — four district seats and three at-large seats

Bargersville

Clerk-treasurer

Town council — three at-large seats

Edinburgh

Clerk-treasurer

Town council — three at-large seats

New Whiteland

Clerk-treasurer

Town council — three wards

Prince’s Lakes

Clerk-treasurer

Town council — five at-large seats

Trafalgar

Clerk-treasurer

Town council — five at-large seats

Whiteland

Clerk-treasurer

Town council — three wards and two at-large seats