Allen County Council President Roy Buskirk died with less than a week left before the election. That means his name was still on the ballot, and Buskirk received a winning number of votes for the at-large County Council seat. Democrats and Republicans disagree about what party will fill his empty seat.
After Roy Buskirk died, Republicans announced Republican precinct committee members would vote for a replacement if he wins re-election.
Buskirk did win enough votes, but Allen County Democratic Chair Jack Morris says Republicans should have named a replacement before the election. Morris says this means only two of the at-large candidates are eligible.
“We have a lot of respect for Roy Buskirk and wish to honor his memory, but we also want the law to be followed,” Morris said. “We believe that when there’s a death at this point, that there are procedures to be followed, and it creates a vacancy on the ballot, and there’s a procedure to fill it. The Republican chair had the opportunity to fill it, and he did not.”
Allen County Republican Chair Steve Shine says Morris is wrong.
“The Democrats are trying to do what they could not do at the ballot box,” Shine said. “They’re trying to steal the election from the Republicans, and we’re not going to permit that.”
Palermo Galindo won the most votes of the three Democratic candidates, which means if Morris is right about Buskirk’s ineligibility as a candidate, Galindo could become an Allen County Council member.