Winamac Town Council members were alerted about an overlooked law that took effect in 2012 regarding small town primary elections and districts when they met Monday night. Town Attorney Justin Schramm explained that the law requires towns under a population of 3,500 to pass an ordinance recertifying their districts two years after a decennial census is conducted. The last census took place in 2010.
Schramm stated, “Between 2012 and 2017 there had to have been some type of ordinance or resolution recertifying the districts within the Town of Winamac.” He continued, “If that didn’t happen within that time period then you are now district-less for purposes of voting. What you do is, the council members, depending on when they run, run at large instead of per their districts.”
Schramm said this will not affect the 2018 elections but the three council members who will be up for election in 2020 will need to run as at-large candidates. An “at-large” status simply means the members would represent the municipality as a whole, as opposed to one specific district.
He went onto say that the next decennial census will be conducted in 2020, which means that Winamac officials will be able to establish an ordinance reclassifying the town’s districts in 2022. If they do that, then members will be able to run as representatives of their particular districts again in 2024.