INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 28, 2014) - He’s sitting in jail, but he’s still on the ballot.
John Couch, an independent candidate in the race for the 92nd House district seat, is accused of harassing his opponent, incumbent Karlee Macer.
Sheriff's deputies say when they came to Couch’s apartment to confront him, he resisted and even threw a toilet seat at deputies forcing them to use a taser.
Still, Couch can’t be removed from the ballot, because he’s only been charged at this point, not convicted. And besides it’s too late – early voting is already underway.
Indiana law requires ballots to be set by July 15, and within 60 days of the election, there are only a few ways a candidate can be removed from the ballot- including a felony conviction or if the candidate moves out of his/her district.
It’s an issue that is also a concern for candidate Bob Ashley who is also running for state representative. His opponent Eric Turner, R-Cicero, has already announced he’ll be resigning from the legislature is he’s re-elected. Ashley says he’s asked Turner to step down, but he says Turner told him he couldn’t.
“This has been about one of the strangest elections I’ve ever heard of,” said Ashley. “It’s been very frustrating, I’m really not sure who I’m running against am I running against Eric Turner or am I running against a small group of politicians who will name his replacement?”
It’s also an issue that applies to state Rep. Steve Braun, R-Zionsville, who’s been named the new head of the Department of Workforce Development. Braun is still on the ballot, running unopposed, and will need to be replaced after the election.
Speaker Brian Bosma talked about the Turner issue in an interview with FOX59 last month and he says it’s something they might take up next year.
“It does present a bit of a challenge for it to come before the election,” said Bosma last month. “It’s causing us to look at that whole process.”
Meantime, Macer was back on the campaign trail Monday after what was for her a terrifying few months.
“It has been a very terrible time for my family,” she said. “We have just kind of been paralyzed and numb to this experience."
Couch was arrested on Oct. 9 and charged with stalking, forgery, perjury and resisting law enforcement.
According to court documents, Couch used to work at Liberty Tax Service. Police say he stalked Macer at that office, where she was filing taxes with her husband. The court documents said Couch showed up to confront Macer at the house chambers, at campaign events and even called her personal cell phone to demand a debate.