Voters say they were turned away at Owensville election

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GIBSON COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – Results of a Gibson County election could be investigated by the Indiana Secretary of State.

Some voters say they were turned away and a candidate feels cheated.

Some people here in Owensville feel their right to vote was taken away.

A republican convention in August was open to anyone with the right form.

But that’s not what happened for some.

Instead of a primary election, Owensville has conventions.

They’re run by the political party instead of the election office.

The latest convention caused a strife with at least a dozen voters.

“There were too many people turned away for no reason. I think it’s wrong. They’ve wronged me.”

Gerald Moore lost the race for town board by less than 10 votes.

But he says the Republican Party Chairman, C.T. Montgomery, turned people away.

“Even Democrats or Independents could vote in this convention if they signed a certain form.”

He’s talking about IRSC/VO-1. It’s a state form that certifies a non-registered republican to vote in a republican primary.

Moore says those forms were available at the august 10th convention… But not everyone was afforded the chance.

“He said that it was just for republicans, that I wasn’t to be there, I needed to go home.”

Tracey Thompson says she and dozens of others were asked to leave, despite wanting to sign the state form.

“When I said something about the form, he wouldn’t even let me talk to Gerald to get one.”

Gerald Bledsoe was running the convention, she said until Montgomery asked her to leave.

“Kind of felt crooked to me because some people that were democrats really got in to vote and some people just didn’t.”

No Democrat filed to fill this town board position so, the winner of the Republican convention wins the seat.

“Democrats felt like they had a right to help choose that candidate and they do. And that right was taken away from them. They were denied the right to vote.”

“I live in this town and I want to have something to do with what goes on.”
Moore wants another convention — because he thinks the errors made against Thompson and others shorted him a chance to win.

“I’m sure it did.”

The Indiana Secretary of State’s Office is reviewing Moore’s complaint.

If it determines a violation happened, the election board will investigate.

Eyewitness News’ Stuart Hammer tried to reach out to Montgomery and other Gibson County Republican party members but didn’t receive a call back.

We’ll keep you updated on the potential for an investigation.

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(This story was originally published on October 17, 2019)

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