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Election season begins; filing opens this week

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In the coming weeks, voters will find out who will be on their ballots this year, vying for elected offices, including the judge of a new court and county council members, who decide how tax dollars are spent.

Filing for Democratic and Republican candidates starts Wednesday and runs through Feb. 7, deputy clerk Reagan Higdon said.

Voters had a year off from election season in 2013, but this year will have the chance to vote in federal, state and local races. One federal office, eight state offices, 14 county offices, 18 township offices and four municipal offices are up for election.

Voters will cast ballots in the May primary for Republican and Democratic candidates running for office, and the winners of the election will face off in the general election in November. The primary election will most likely decide the winner for some local offices, as Republicans often run unopposed in the fall.

In one of the more competitive local races this year, voters will choose a judge for the new Superior Court 4, which will open in 2015. Some local officials, including a county commissioner and council member, also will not be running for office again, meaning voters will elect a new candidate this year.

When to file

Here are the filing windows for candidates running for office:

Partisan candidates:

Wednesday through Feb. 7

Independent candidates:

Wednesday through June 30

School board candidates:

July 23 through Aug. 22

Independent candidates also can begin filing this week, though the deadline for nonpartisan candidates runs through June 30. Independent candidates typically wait until after the primary election, once the partisan candidates are determined, to file, Higdon said.

Independents also tend to run for city and township offices more than county offices, as they have to gather more signatures to become eligible for the county elections, Higdon said. In 2007, for example, six independent candidates ran for five open seats on the Bargersville Town Council, and independent candidates ran for mayor of both Franklin and Greenwood.

Five Johnson County school districts will have from one to three open seats for members who will vote on issues including how taxpayers’ money is spent, such as whether it pays for new employees or building upgrades.

Board members also evaluate the county’s six superintendents. But voters won’t cast ballots for school board members until November, and candidates seeking those seats won’t start filing until July, Higdon said.

School boards used to have the option of deciding whether their elections were during the May or November elections, but in 2011 state lawmakers approved a law requiring all school board members to be elected during the general election. Beginning in 2012, all of the state’s school board elections happened simultaneously.

No referendums are planned for this year. Voters in Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson and Center Grove schools rejected referendums in 2009 and 2010, and a referendum for a new Franklin library branch was rejected by voters in 2012.

Both Center Grove and Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson schools are planning building projects that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars, but because of state law, school officials don’t need to ask voters to approve the projects.

School districts don’t need voters to approve elementary school building projects that cost $10 million or less, or high school building projects that cost $20 million or less. Center Grove plans to make about $10 million worth of renovations at both Center Grove and North Grove Elementary schools and about $20 million in renovations at Center Grove High School.

Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson is considering spending $10 million or less to renovate or construct a new building for Indian Creek Elementary. A decision on whether to move forward with that project is expected this year.

Up for office

Here are all the positions that will be up for election in 2014:


U.S. representative for the 9th District


Secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, state senator for District 41, and state representative for districts 47, 58, 65 and 93.


Superior Court 2 judge, Superior Court 3 judge, Superior Court 4 judge, prosecutor, clerk, auditor, recorder, sheriff, assessor, county commissioner District 2, and county council districts 1, 2, 3 and 4


Township trustees and three-member township boards in all nine townships


Bargersville Town Council at-large (two seats), Edinburgh Town Council at-large (two seats), New Whiteland Town Council Ward 2, New Whiteland Town Council Ward 5.

School boards

(fall election only)

Center Grove, at-large (three seats); Edinburgh, at-large (one seat) and Blue River Township (two seats); Franklin, Needham and Union townships (one seat each); Greenwood, at-large (two seats), District 2 (one seat); Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson, Hensley Township (1 seat) and Jackson Township in Morgan County (one seat)

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