Bramble declared winner in Vigo County Auditor race

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Rebecca Coleman, the candidate who won Vigo County’s Auditor race in the Nov. 3 election, has agreed that she is ineligible to hold office.

According to a Vigo County court filing, Coleman came to that determination after consulting with her counsel. She “determined that she cannot successfully defend herself against the representations in Petitioner’s Amended Verified Petition to Contest Election,” Judge Lakshmi Reddy’s court order read in part.

As a result, her opponent in the race, Democrat James Bramble, will continue in his position as Vigo County Auditor. As Judge Reddy’s order read in part, “due to her ineligibility the second highest vote getter being, James W. (Jim) Bramble, would be the duly elected Auditor of Vigo County and would be eligible to assume said office.”

Coleman was initially declared the winner with 22,152 votes, or 53% of the vote.

On Nov. 12, Bramble, the current Vigo County Auditor, and his lawyer Bill Smock filed a petition claiming that Coleman was ineligible to hold the office due to two past felony convictions dating back to the late ’90s. According to Smock, Indiana law states that a convicted felon cannot hold public office. He argued that Coleman should not have been allowed on the ballot.

Another Vigo County election result, for Treasurer, is also being contested in court.

A petition filed by current Treasurer Nancy Allsup claims Treasurer-elect Josie Swalls-Thompson is not a resident of Vigo county, but of Florida. The petition accuses Swalls-Thompson of having used a homestead exemption on a property in Fort Myers.

Swalls-Thompson said the following in a statement, “I strongly plan to defend my election and clear up any confusion over a Florida property I purchased in 2013 prior to my marriage.”

Clay Superior Court Judge Robert A. Pell will hear the case after Judge Sarah Mullican recused herself, citing a conflict of interest.

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